Saturday, March 26, 2016

Lewis And Clark Weren't The First...!

When we think of the expedition of Lewis and Clark, we think of them being the first to complete the trip across the new American territories. It turns out that this isn't the case at all.

Alexander MacKenzie’s Transcontinental Trek

Photo credit: John Harvey

Alexander MacKenzie is remembered as a great explorer in Canada and his native Scotland, but he doesn’t get the global recognition that he deserves. He is not on the same level as some of his contemporaries, such as Lewis and Clark.

In 1804, after the Louisiana Purchase, Captain Meriwether Lewis and Second Lieutenant William Clark set out on an expedition to explore the new American territories, claim the Pacific Northwest for the US, and reach the Pacific Ocean.

They completed their transcontinental trek in 1806, ensuring their place in the history books. But Alexander MacKenzie had done the same thing more than a decade before them. In 1793, MacKenzie became the first European to cross North America. He could have done it even sooner if his first trip had been successful.

He originally set out for the Pacific Ocean in 1789 by following the largest river in Canada. MacKenzie hoped that it flowed into the Pacific, but the river actually went north into the Arctic Ocean. Even though the trip was a failure, that river is now named MacKenzie in his honor.

His second trip went much better. In 1792, MacKenzie set out from Fort Chipewyan in Alberta and followed the Peace River into the Rockies. After crossing the Great Divide, he followed the Bella Coola River and reached the Pacific Coast. There, he painted a simple message on a rock face that said: “Alex MacKenzie from Canada by land 22d July 1793.”

It's always strange to find out that history doesn't always match what we were taught. Kinda makes you want to question some of what we learn today! Thanks to the folks at Listverse for this article.

Coffee out on the patio today!


Chickenmom said...

Fascinating story about him in "Undaunted Courage" by Steven Ambrose.

HermitJim said...

Hey Phyllis...
Thanks for the information.
Thanks also for stopping by today!

Dizzy-Dick said...

People have been nomadic ever since they learned to walk upright. We always want to see what is beyond the next hill or around the next bend. And yes, I am like that.

Barney (The Old Fat Man) said...

Several other folks were ahead of Lewis and Clark. L&C were the first ones to carefully record and map the area they went through. That is why they have the notoriety they have. The L&C trail in the PNW is a neat trail to follow. It has lots of markers to tell their story. Several places were so well defined and described in the journals you can tell within a few feet of where they camped. For the time period it was a very meticulous journal.

HermitJim said...

Hey Dizzy...
I reckon the grass is always greener, huh. I think most folks are like that!
I appreciate the visit today!

HermitJim said...

Hey Barney...
The devil is in the details for sure! Quite an undertaking for the time.
Thanks for4 coming by today, my friend!

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Anonymous said...

I just finished Undaunted Courage. Great book! I don't know if Mr. Mackenzie did it by himself, but after reading about Lewis and Clark, there's no way I'd want to do it by myself. There were very good folks and very, very bad folks along the way.