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Prologue to Lewis and Clark: The Mackay and Evans Expedition Hardcover – April 14, 2003
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About the Author
James P. Ronda, H. G. Barnard Professor of History, emeritus, University of Tulsa, is widely recognized for his extensive scholarship on the Lewis and Clark expedition, including the pathbreaking Lewis and Clark Among the Indians. He is also a distinguished historian of the early American fur trade, Astoria and Empire. Professor Ronda’s recent publications include The West the Railroads Made.
Top Customer Reviews
Most people have never heard of Scotsman James Mackay and Welshman John Evans, but if it wasn't for their efforts in cartography and ethnology, the celebrated Lewis and Clark expedition would have been quite hampered in its early stages.
When the Louisana Territory was still under Spanish rule, Mackay became a naturalized citizen and Evans swore allegiance to Spain. Their responsibilities to Spain included exploring, mapping and locating a route to the Pacific for trade possibilities, evicting British traders in its territory and promoting Indian intertribal peace to further enhance trade with Spain. Evans' primary objective in accepting this offer was to locate the mythological Welsh Indians whose original Welsh ancestors were suppose to have settled in mid-America during the year 1170 AD.
Although not a completely successful mission, the Mackay-Evans expedition did produce maps of the upper Missouri which Lewis and Clark referred to on numerous occasions and opened understandings of Missouri River Indian cultures and customs.
Dr. Wood effectively sifts through the available journals and maps of Mackay and Evans, along with other pertinent papers and charts of the day, to make this an exciting work.
It was, in fact, British incursions into territory where the Spanish had legal claim that prompted the Mackay and Evans expedition to the Mandan Villages. Mackay had been part of the British fur trade and Evans was Welsh. Both had to swear loyalty to the Spanish crown before they were accepted to lead a trip reaffirming the Spanish claim and to warn British traders to cease and desist. Technically, Mackay and Evans represented the Missouri Company, a commercial firm operating under charter (and tight control) of the Spanish government. Mackay and Evans were instructed to proceed up the Missouri and cross the continent to the Pacific, although they only made it as far as the Mandan Villages.Read more ›