Welcome to the Zebulon M. Pike Expedition and Pike National Historic Trail Association Web Site!
Two centuries ago this year, an expedition under Lt. Zebulon Montgomery Pike left from their quarters near St. Louis for what would prove to be an epic adventure with profound effects on the subsequent history of the American Southwest.
Recognizing this, the Santa Fe Trail Association (SFTA), a non-profit national organization dedicated to preservation and educational projects involving the Santa Fe National Historic Trail, formed the Zebulon M. Pike Exploration Bicentennial Commission to initiate and coordinate events commemorating all aspects surrounding the Pike expedition.
Communities all along Pike’s route, aware that their communities were a direct result of the historical processes brought on in the wake of Pike’s endeavor, embraced the bicentennial as their own.
Pike's International Adventure
During the two years that Pike's expedition was in the field, its members traveled through what would become the modern states or Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas. Moreover, the expedition's entry into Spanish territory also earned them as involuntary tour through today's modern Mexican states of Chihuahua and Coahuila, making his reconnaissance of the Louisiana Purchase an international junket as well.
The Pike-By-State section contains essays that address Pike's travels within the boundaries of today's modern states. When Pike left St. Louis in 1806, none of these political entities existed as U.S. states; however, once in Spanish territory, the expedition traveled through formal geopolitical provinces lumped under the general rubric of New Spain: Nuevo Mexico (modern New Mexico), Nuevo Vizcaya (Pile's state of "Biscay" and today's Chihuahua), Coahuila, and Tejas.
This site originally was funded and produced through the efforts of the Santa Fe Trail Association, with the generous support of their partner, the U.S. National Park Service. As an extension of their work, an effort to nominate the Pike footprint as a National Historic Trail under the 1967 National Trails Act, was begun.
This site is now managed by the Pike National Historic Trail Association aimed at continuing and improving the Bicentennial Commission's quality tools to the educational community; as well as providing a wealth of information and tools for the public outreach or the Association.
The Pike National Bicentennial Commission
Pike's expedition from St. Louis to the southwest portion of the Louisiana Purchase was as significant in its results for the nation as was that of the Lewis and Clark expedition which preceded him. Pike’s 1810 book on his southwestern expedition was one of the first detailed examinations of the geography, people, and economics of the northern region of New Spain.
Pike's expedition generated an economic interest among frontier businessmen in the U.S. that would lead to the establishment of the Santa Fe Trail and a subsequent westward expansion into Texas and the Southwest by the United States.
Because of Pike’s importance in the eventual establishment of the Santa Fe Trail, the Santa Fe Trail Association established a five-member Zebulon M. Pike Expedition Bicentennial Commission to oversee planning and scheduling of events during 2006 and 2007.
The members of The Pike Commission:
* Clive G. Siegle, Dallas, TX, Executive Director
* Hal Jackson, Placitas, NM, Committee Chairman
* John M. Murphy, Colorado Springs, CO
* Ramon Powers, Topeka, KS
* Craig Crease, Shawnee, KS
* Leo E. Oliva, Woodston, KS
The Pike Commission sought cooperation from the U. S. Congress, the Mexican
and Spanish governments, the National Park Service, historical societies in the seven states where Pike traveled (Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Louisiana) as well as the Mexican Provinces of Chihuahua, Durango & Coahuila, and local communities, organizations, and schools along the entire route of the expedition. In addition, the Commission devoted attention to the expedition of Spanish troops led by Lt. Facundo Melgares, who crossed the plains looking for Pike a few weeks before Pike arrived on the scene, and went to the same Pawnee village in southern Nebraska that Pike later visited.