Crossing the Indian Country, 1804 – 1806
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William Clark and Prince Maximilian

William Clark’s authority in the Indian country is underscored by this certificate, issued in 1833, to Maximilian, Prince of Wied (1782–1867). The German prince--who had been trained in Germany by private tutors, including the naturalist Alexander von Humboldt--was eager to travel to the upper Missouri.

As this document indicates, Maximilian was accompanied on his journey by Swiss artist Karl Bodmer and an assistant, David Dreidoppel. Armed with Clark’s certificate and guided by his advice, the prince’s party reached the Blackfeet country in modern Montana by the end of the summer and returned to the Mandan villages for the winter of 1833–34.

William Clark. Certificate Granting Prince Maximilian of Wied (“Baron Brunsberg”), Karl Bodmer, and David Dreidoppel Permission To Pass Through the Indian Country for the Purpose of Making Observations in Zoology and Botany, 1833.

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