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HISTORY & PREHISTORY

Discovery Points

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led the first U. S. expedition across the continent. In 1804 a hopeful Thomas Jefferson sent Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to find the fabled River of the West. From the time of Columbus, explorers and statesmen had dreamed of a Northwest Passage, an all-water route connecting the trade routes of the Pacific to the Old World of the Atlantic. As president of a still-young nation, Jefferson had pressed for the Louisiana Purchase to strengthen American trade and settlement. The final $15 million-dollar agreement with France doubled America's size overnight. President Thomas Jefferson sent them to find the headwaters of the Missouri River and a river to the Pacific Ocean.

Throughout the expedition, Lewis and Clark gathered crucial information about this new territory and carefully recorded all of their findings in journals. About one quarter of their expedition was in what is now Montana. The following are some of the major discovery points in this journey though Montana:

1.
Fort Union
13.
Beaverhead Rock
2.
Glasgow and the Milk River
14.
Clark's Lookout
3.
Fort Peck
15.
Camp Fortunate
4.
Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge
16.
Lost Trail
5.
Missouri Breaks
17.
Ross' Hole
6.
Fort Benton
18.
Travelers Rest
7.
Loma and Marias River
19.
Lolo Hot Springs
8.
Upper Missouri
20.
Lolo Pass
9.
Great Falls
21.
Pompeys Pillar
10.
Gates of the Mountains
22.
The Yellowstone River
11.
Helena
23.
Camp Disappointment
12.
Missouri Headwaters    

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