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Beyond Lewis and Clark - Timeline 1806-1807

The Army Explores The West

Zebulon Pike.

Pike Expedition (1806-1807)

Zebulon Pike was an army lieutenant sent by the U.S. government to explore the southern part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1806. Pike’s goals were to meet with Indian tribes and to collect information on the region’s natural history.

The government particularly wanted to know if ships could sail the Arkansas River. Pike followed the river to the Rocky Mountains foothills, where his party was captured by Spanish soldiers because they were exploring land owned by Spain.

Pike was held in Mexico for six months and most of his expedition notes were confiscated. After his release, Pike prepared a report to the U.S. government in which he described the Plains as the “Great American Desert.”

Pike's expedition, 1806.


Beyond Lewis and Clark is an online exhibit developed by the Kansas Museum of History. It is the result of a partnership between the Kansas Historical Society, the Virginia and Washington State historical societies, the U. S. Army's Frontier Army Museum at Leavenworth, and the U. S. Army Center of Military History.

Contact us at kshs.kansasmuseum@ks.gov