Exploratory Travels Through the Western Territories of North America


“Potosi’s wealth seems beggarly by the side of the stores of precious metal taken from the Rocky Mountains within thirty years.” [From the Introduction]

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Zebulon Pike’s explorations to the source of the Mississippi River and across the Great Plains to the Rocky Mountains between 1805 and 1807 must go down as one of the most influential series of expeditions in United States history. First contact with several Native American tribes and boundless scientific discoveries combined with political objectives that saw Pike and his men captured as spies by the Spanish.

The resulting volume, Exploratory Travels, was first published in Philadelphia by C. & A. Conrad & Co. in 1810. The work was republished in London the following year by Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown, who issued the work on hand-made paper with generous margins. It is that edition that can be seen here, republished in Denver in 1889 by W.H. Lawrence & Co.

According to the introduction, which details Pike’s life and his explorations, “in all respects the edition is an improvement on the original one, and gives evidence that the value of the recital had been appreciated by the British publishers. It probably had a large sale on this side of the Atlantic, but at this day copies are rare in America.”

In addition to Pike’s original report, the late 19th century reprinting also includes facsimiles of related communications, Congressional acts and resolutions, and several maps. An important reflection on the early growth of the United States.

Map Details

Publication Date: 1889

Author: Zebulon Montgomery Pike

Sheet Width (in): 9.25

Sheet Height (in): 11.50

Condition: B+

Condition Description: 394 pp. historical report bound in original gilt blue covers and patterned endpapers. Spine is loose along the front cover and there is some heavy wear and toning along the edges of the sheets. Otherwise contents are quite good, and includes facsimile reproductions of Pike's portrait and two maps.


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