WILKES EXPEDITION. The Wilkes Exploring Expedition began life as the U.S. Exploring Expedition of 1836, authorized by Congress to chart the southern Pacific beyond Hawaii. After delays, Commander Charles Wilkes led six ships into the area in 1838. He was accompanied by several scientists, including a geographer, a geologist, and a naturalist. It was an amazingly comprehensive voyage, touching Antarctica and Australia in the south, and then ranging northward to the Oregon coast. In between, he completed his charge by not only enumerating and describing the Marianas and Fijis, but other islands as well. The scientific data and samples of that expedition were important enough to later studies that the artifacts he collected ultimately wound up in the permanent collections of several national museums, including the Smithsonian and the U.S. Botanical Garden.
His charts have proven invaluable as well, even during World War II. By planting the American flag on several previously unknown islands, Wilkes provided the basis for later nineteenth-century American possession of several of them, including Wake Island of World War II fame. His explorations and charting of the northern Pacific and his landfall at the tip of Puget Sound at Fort Nisqually immediately bolstered American claims to what later became the Oregon Territory. The Expedition thus played a part directly in all American involvement in the Pacific for the century following his return to the United States in 1842.
A competent scientist in his own right as well as a naval officer, his wide-ranging Pacific explorations between 1838 and 1842 also helped to bolster later American claims in Antarctica, including Wilkes Island.
Dupree, A. Hunter. Science in the Federal Government: A History of Policies and Activities. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986.
Merk, Frederick. Manifest Destiny and Mission in American History: A Reinterpretation. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1995.
"Wilkes Expedition." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wilkes-expedition
"Wilkes Expedition." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved October 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wilkes-expedition
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.