We have no real idea nowadays that America, the future USA, was unknown territory, still mysterious at the beginning of the 19th century. Pushing back the borders, finding roads, navigable rivers, allying if possible with the Indian tribes who had not yet seen whites, that will be the mission of the Lewis and Clark expedition, of a handful of men who will succeed in rallying east and west coasts. But at what cost. Sandro is very well documented in drawing on a worked scenario, studied by Philippe Thirault (Ô Verlaine) which is permanently based on historical truth. A subject treated many times but which, this time, skilfully mixes big and small history.
In 1803 France sold Louisiana to the Americans for potters. You should know that Louisiana is not just New Orleans but a huge territory that covers several future states from North to South. President Jefferson mandates Lewis to explore Missouri to find the connection with the Columbia River to the Pacific. A challenge that Lewis accepts flanked by Lieutenant Clarke, a substantial budget and 45 seasoned men. Leaving in 1804, Clark did not wait for Lewis and the obstacles were already piling up. No assistance to be expected and obligations not to make enemies with the tribes encountered. Only one man will die, Sergeant FLoyd. We are starting to talk about treaties that will not be kept. The expedition progressed thanks to Canadian trappers including a couple who will be the cause of the success, Toussaint Charbonneau, interpreter and trapper with his Native American wife Sacagawea, whose knowledge will help and even save the expedition.
The road to the West was open. Lewis was not really rewarded. A two-year epic commensurate with the challenges, scientific and cartographic studies, the courage of adventurers, however structured by their military formations in the face of a wild world that was not going to stay that way for long. Less than a century later, it would be more than a distant memory but will remain one of the great pages of US history. A historical record ends the album signed by Stéphane Dugast.
Lewis & Clark, Discovering the West, Glénat, € 15.50