Rivers, Edens, Empires: Lewis & Clark and the Revealing of America

Cartographic Formation of The North American Continent

This presentation depicts the emerging European world view of North America, which began to change upon the dissemination of reports from the voyages of Christopher Columbus. Other explorers sailed forth, including Amerigo Vespucci who identified these lands as a separate continent. Utilizing Vespucci's travel accounts, German geographer Martin Waldseemüller depicted this new continent on a large world map in 1507, naming it “America” in Vespucci's honor. View the presentation

Sources for the Lewis & Clark Expedition Maps of 1803 and 1814

The two key maps that bracket the Lewis and Clark expedition are the Nicholas King map of 1803 and the Track Map of 1814. Nicholas King drew upon the most current information in creating his map. This presentation shows how existing maps were used to form King's map, which it is believed, Lewis and Clark took on their journey.The 1814 Track Map was the landmark product of the expedition. Based on a large map kept by William Clark in his St. Louis office, this map shows the geographic exploration made by Lewis and Clark. It was part of the expedition's official publication. View the presentation

Mapping the West

It would take another fifty years after Lewis and Clark to complete the cartographic image of the West we know today. This presentation shows the routes of the various expeditions from Lewis and Clark to the railroad surveys. Each path is represented by a different color. The maps shown can be found within this exhibition. View the presentation

“We shall delineate with correctness the great arteries of this great country: those who come after us will . . . fill up the canvas we begin.”—Thomas Jefferson, 1805

Back to top