Point A (Atlantic) to Point P (Pacific)

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John Farrer's misleading 1651 map of Virginia depicts a narrow North American continent. (Note that north is to the right on this map.)

 

Lewis and Clarke were not the first to seek a water route across North America; European explorers had been seeking the elusive Northwest Passage for centuries before. Virginia Indians, John Smith reported, told that, to the west, beyond “a great ridge of high hills”, “a great sea doth run”. The James River was broad and deep: could it be a shortcut to the silk and spices of India and China?

 

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