The Exploration of Western America, 1800-1850: An Historical Geography

By E. W. Gilbert | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Chapter XI
THE DISCOVERY OF SOUTHERN TRANS-
CONTINENTAL ROUTES

(a) The Exploration of the Western Tributaries of the Mississippi, South of St Louis, 1803-1806

After the annexation of Louisiana by the United States, several expeditions were sent out to explore the right bank tributaries of the Mississippi, south of St Louis. The American Government was eager to survey the newly acquired territory, and shortly after the purchase, Congress commissioned Dr John Sibley to ascend the Red River, while William Dunbar, with George Hunter, were sent up the principal tributary of the Red River, namely the Washita. The exploration of the Red River was of special interest to the Government, as they wished to determine the exact boundary between Louisiana and the Spanish dominions. Four expeditions under Sibley ( 1803), Sparks ( 1806), Pike ( 1806), and Long ( 1820) endeavoured to determine the course and sources of this river, which was supposed to be the southern boundary of Louisiana.

Sibley set out in March, 1803, and sent in his report in April, 1805. He pushed his way up the Red River as far as the modern site of Shreveport. He described the country, with its fertile alluvial soil, as one of the richest he had ever seen. Sibley only travelled 80 miles above Natchitoches, but he obtained information about the upper river from two Frenchmen, Francis Grappe and M. Brevel. He learnt that the Red River, like many of the tributaries of the Mississippi, was not navigable. Sibley also reported that the Indians had no boats, partly because there was no timber available and partly because the stream, rising to a torrent with spring and autumn floods, made canoes an un

____________________
1
The routes of explorers described in this chapter are shown on end Map A, Fig. 32.

-151-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Exploration of Western America, 1800-1850: An Historical Geography
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 233

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?