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Mandan, Fort


MANDAN, FORT. Constructed in November 1804 near present-day Bismarck, North Dakota, Fort Mandan served as winter quarters for the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804–1806). A fortified encampment in the rough-hewn style of other seasonal military installations, the fort's location near the Mandan and Hidatsa Indian villages was a matter of crucial importance. These horticultural peoples were situated at the center of a vast trading network that extended over much of central North America; thus, frequent councils with Native leaders and European traders provided Meriwether Lewis and William Clark with abundant information on the lands and peoples to the west. The expedition left Fort Mandan in April 1805, and passed the site again in August 1806, but by this time a prairie fire of unknown origin had destroyed the fort.


Appleman, Roy E. Lewis & Clark: Historic Places Associated withTheir Transcontinental Exploration (1804–1806). Washington, D.C.: National Park Service, 1975.

Ronda, James P. Lewis and Clark among the Indians. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1988.

Mark DavidSpence

See alsoLewis and Clark Expedition .

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