Stories

The end of Lewis and Clark expedition

by Jorge Sanchez - 4 years, 8 months ago

In my way from Alaska to Panama overland, I decided to stop for a couple of days in a historical USA town: Astoria, the oldest USA settlement in the Pacific coast. I hitchhiked from Portland and after six hours or so I reached Astoria. People compare Astoria with San Francisco, because the hilly streets, but…. I found this to be too exaggerated. San Francisco is much lovelier. Anyway, I enjoyed the city, located at the mouth of the Missouri River. There is a bridge, called Astoria-Megler, which divides Oregon from Washington, but you can’t cross it on foot, so again I hitch hiked to the other side and the first car gave me a ride (in the way back I had to wait for an hour, until a lady from Bosnia –the owner of a restaurant offering delicious Bosnia and Herzegovina dishes, and where I would eat mouton as dinner- gave me a ride). In the Washington side I walked until the fortress erected by Lewis and Clark (previously to that trip I had been in St Louis, Missouri, and learnt about their extraordinary expedition crossing the Rocky mountains until the pacific Ocean, from 1804 to 1806). The second day of my stay in Astoria I walked up a hill until an obelisk explaining the history of Lewis and Clark expedition. From there I enjoyed a wonderful panorama view of Astoria and the villages around, together with the mouth of the Missouri River. Thanks to Lewis and Clark Expedition, USA claimed its rights to the Pacific coast, which in those times belonged to Spain, Russia and England. Americans proudly affirm that the Lewis and Clark expedition was the first one to cross North America from coast to coast. Canadians say that this honor belongs to Alexander Mackenzie. But I could only benevolently smile at the bigotry of USA and Canada and their complete ignorance of the history of the expeditions in America. Several centuries before Lewis, Clark or Mackenzie, Spaniards had crossed North America from side to side. Álvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, from the Pánfilo de Narváez expedition, disembarked in the coasts of Florida and during 8 years (from 1528 to 1536) crossed the continent until the waters of the Gulf of California, so waters of the Pacific ocean, thus making the first transcontinental crossing by Europeans (surely, Indians must have made it too, much earlier than the Europeans). Out of over 300 men, only Cabeza de Vaca and four of his men survived, after having been attacked, murdered and having being slavered by the Indians (By the way, Cabeza de Vaca was the first European to admire Iguazu Falls). There is a cheap Youth Hostel in town where I spent the night.


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