The United States dispatched an ambitious mission to uncharted oceans.
In 1838, six U.S. Navy vessels set out on a great voyage of exploration. Aboard were several hundred seamen and scientists under the command of Lt. Charles Wilkes. Authorized by Congress, the U.S. Exploring Expedition (also known as the Ex. Ex. or the Wilkes Expedition) would explore and map the Pacific, Antarctica, and the northwest coast of the United States.
A tremendous feat of navigation, the expedition broadened knowledge of uncharted areas of the world and helped expand American commerce, industry, and scientific knowledge. It cemented the nation’s status as a new world economic leader.