Zebulon Pike

Zebulon Pike was an American explorer, soldier, and politician who is best known for his exploration of the American Southwest and the discovery of Pike's Peak in Colorado. He was born in Lamberton, New Jersey on January 5, 1779, and was the son of a Revolutionary War veteran. He was educated at the University of Pennsylvania and was commissioned as a lieutenant in the United States Army in 1799.

Pike's first assignment was to explore the Mississippi River and its tributaries. He was sent to the Spanish-controlled Louisiana Territory in 1805 and was tasked with finding the source of the Mississippi River. He was unsuccessful in this endeavor, but he did explore the area and made important observations about the geography and the native tribes.

In 1806, Pike was sent to explore the American Southwest. He was instructed to find the headwaters of the Arkansas and Red Rivers, as well as to explore the area for potential military sites. He and his team traveled through what is now Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. During his travels, he encountered several Native American tribes, including the Comanche, Kiowa, and Apache. He also encountered Spanish forces in the area, and he was arrested by the Spanish in New Mexico. He was released after a few months and returned to the United States in 1807.

Pike's most famous discovery was Pike's Peak in Colorado. He named the peak after himself, and it has since become one of the most recognizable landmarks in the United States. He also wrote a book about his travels, titled “An Account of Expeditions to the Sources of the Mississippi, and Through the Western Parts of Louisiana.”

Pike's explorations were important in the development of the American West. He was the first to explore the area in depth, and his observations and writings helped to shape the understanding of the region. He also helped to open up the area to further exploration and settlement.

Pike died in 1813 while serving in the War of 1812. He was buried in York, Pennsylvania, and his grave is now a national monument. He is remembered as one of the most important explorers of the American West, and his legacy lives on in the many places that bear his name, including Pike's Peak.