The Louisiana Purchase raised questions for Americans. What peoples and land lay in the newly acquired territories? Would the rivers lead them to the Pacific Ocean? Thomas Jefferson organized a Corps of Discovery, led by Captain Meriwether Lewis and Captain William Clark, to find the answers.

Map by National Geographic Society

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    On March 10, 1804, France handed over millions of acres of land to the United States. This land, called the Louisiana Territory, was nicknamed the “Louisiana Purchase” after President Thomas Jefferson bought (purchased) it for about $15 million the year before. The Louisiana Purchase stretched all the way from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian border!
     
    The ceremony handing over the Louisiana Purchase to the United States took place in St. Louis, Missouri. St. Louis sits on the banks of the Mississippi River. Before the Louisiana Purchase, the Mississippi River was the western border of the U.S. After the Louisiana Purchase, the Mississippi River was in the middle of the country. West of the river, there were millions of acres of unexplored land. This is why St. Louis is nicknamed the “Gateway to the West.”
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    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.

    border Noun

    natural or artificial line separating two pieces of land.

    Encyclopedic Entry: border
    boundary Noun

    line separating geographical areas.

    Encyclopedic Entry: boundary
    ceremony Noun

    activities to celebrate or commemorate an event.

    corps Plural Noun

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

    delta Noun

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

    Encyclopedic Entry: delta
    depart Verb

    to leave.

    inflation Noun

    increase in the price of goods and services.

    landscape Noun

    the geographic features of a region.

    Encyclopedic Entry: landscape
    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.

    region Noun

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

    Encyclopedic Entry: region
    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.