Who is Zebulon Montgomery Pike? Information on explorer Zebulon Montgomery Pike biography, life story and expeditions.
Zebulon Montgomery Pike; United States army officer and explorer: b. Lamberton (now part of Trenton), N. J., Jan. 5, 1779; d. York (now Toronto), Canada, April 27, 1813.
Commissioned a lieutenant in 1799, he was selected in 1805 to trace the upper course of the Mississippi River, and set out on August 9 from St. Louis with 20 men. He built a fort near Little Falls, Minn., and continued his explorations, returning to St. Louis in April 1806. Gen. James Wilkinson then sent Pike on a second, more important expedition to explore the headwaters of the Red and Arkansas rivers and scout the Spanish settlements in New Mexico. Winter overtook the party, and they were arrested by the Spanish authorities and taken to Chihuahua, but soon released. Before his arrest Pike had discovered Pikes Peak in Colorado and explored the country around Leadville. Promoted brigadier general after the War of 1812 began, he led the attack on York, Canada, where an exploding powder magazine causdd his death. He published An Account of Expeditions to the Sources of the Mississippi and Through the Western Parts of Louisiana (1810).