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Exploring the World

Throughout the 19th century Congress funded expeditions to explore land and sea. In 1836 Congress authorized the United States Exploring Expedition—also called the Wilkes Expedition after its leader, naval officer Charles Wilkes. Its purpose was to circumnavigate the world, promote commerce, and "extend the bounds of science and ... Knowledge." The four-year expedition mapped South Sea islands and Pacific coastlines, established trade, and gathered voluminous information that aided the United States in becoming a leading scientific and naval power.

1 Image Chart of the World Shewing the Tracks of the U.S. Exploring... View All Images
1 Image List of "Presents for Natives," July 16, 1841 View All Images
1 Image Letter to “Captain Wilkes” from children of a Hawaiian High School,... View All Images
4 Images Letter from Henry Eld to Henry Eld, Sr., Islands of Hawaii, Mauna Loa... View All Images
1 Image VINCENNES in Disappointment Bay, 1844 engraving by C.A. Jewett,... View All Images