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On March 10, 1804, France officially transferred ownership of the Louisiana Territory to the United States. President Thomas Jefferson had acquired—purchased—the Louisiana Territory almost a year earlier, for the price of about $15 million (about $312.5 million, adjusted for inflation). The ceremony took place in St. Louis, Missouri, earning the city its nickname “Gateway to the West.”
 
With the Louisiana Purchase, the Mississippi River, on which St. Louis sits, really did become the gateway to the west. The river formed the eastern boundary of the Louisiana Territory—a vast region stretching from the Mississippi Delta to what are now the Canadian borders of Montana and North Dakota. 
 
Just months later (in May) Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and their “Corps of Discovery” departed from St. Louis to explore this new American landscape.
acquire
Verb

to get or take possession of.

bank
Noun

a slope of land adjoining a body of water, or a large elevated area of the sea floor.

Noun

natural or artificial line separating two pieces of land.

Noun

line separating geographical areas.

ceremony
Noun

activities to celebrate or commemorate an event.

corps
Plural Noun

group of people acting together, or with a similar purpose.

Noun

the flat, low-lying plain that sometimes forms at the mouth of a river from deposits of sediments.

depart
Verb

to leave.

inflation
Noun

increase in the price of goods and services.

Noun

the geographic features of a region.

Louisiana Purchase
Noun

(1803) land bought by the United States from France, extending from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains, and Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

purchase
Verb

to buy.

Noun

any area on Earth with one or more common characteristics. Regions are the basic units of geography.

territory
Noun

land an animal, human, or government protects from intruders.

transfer
Verb

to pass or switch from one to another.

vast
Adjective

huge and spread out.