By Tim McNeese
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Most flatboats were on the smaller side, measuring about 12 or 14 feet wide and about 50 feet in length. Flatboats on the Ohio needed to be this size since the river narrowed at the Louisville site to a width of about 15 feet, creating the Falls of the Ohio, which were actually a series of rapids. The American Frontier Since the flatboats had no means of propulsion, they were meant to float down-stream only. Maneuvering such an awkward craft was done with three long sweeps, or large paddles, sometimes called broadhorns.
One such power was Spain. Imperial Spain had arrived in the New World at the end of the 1400s, and had spent over two and-a-half centuries establishing and fortifying a New World empire throughout the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and the American Southwest. By the 1770s, the Spanish had explored the entire coast of California, laying claim to the lands watered by the Columbia River (which forms much of the border between modern-day Oregon and Washington states). Spanish ships had also reached Vancouver Island and southeastern Alaska, putting them in the same American neighborhood as the Russians.
As the season turned to spring, the Corps of Discovery built six canoes, knowing their keelboat would not take them beyond the upper reaches of the Missouri River. By the end of March, the river’s ice began to thaw and the men returned to buffalo hunting, adding to their supply of dried meat. The packing list included the bones of a coyote and pronghorn sheep, buffalo robes, a Mandan bow with a quiver of arrows, exotic plants, and a yapping prairie dog. As they left the Mandan camp, the Frenchmen and others headed south, back to St.
American Frontier by Tim McNeese