Sacagawea is best known for her contribution in the Lewis-Clark Expedition into the American West. She was also skilled at finding edible plants. Her name means in the Shoshone language ‘Bird Woman’ and in Hidatsa ‘Boat Launcher’. It is believed that she was born in 1788 in Lemhi County, Idaho.
She was the daughter of a Shoshone Chief. She was captured by Hidatsa Indian, an enemy tribe when she was just 12 years old. Then she was sold to a French-Canadian trapper, Toussaint Charbonneau who eventually married her. At that time, Toussaint Charbonneau was 41 years old.
Quick Facts: –
- Sacagawea was 16 years old when she met Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. At that time she was expecting her first baby.
- She joined the expedition along with her husband when their son, Jean Baptiste was just 55 days old.
- She spoke two native languages, Hidatsa and Shoshone and her husband spoke two languages Hidatsa and French.
- She was the only woman on the Lewis-Clark Expedition into the American West.
- The expedition had a total of 32 male members. She helped the group by acting as a guide and interpreter.
- During the expedition, they encountered a group of Shoshone Indians. Later she got to know that the leader of the group was her own brother Cameahwait.
- Her son Jean Baptiste was nicknamed as ‘Pomp’. It was a tradition of Shoshones naming the first child ‘pomp’. The term means ‘leader’.
- Charbonneau received 320 acres of land and $500.33 for his services during the expedition but Sacagawea did not get any compensation.
- After returning from the expedition, she gave birth to a daughter named Lizette.
- There is no reliable information about her death. It is believed that she died at the age of 25.
- The cause of her death was typhus, also known as putrid fever.
- A golden Sacagawea dollar coin was issued by the US mint in 2000.