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Flatboat, bargelike craft used in the westward movement of the United States in the 1800s. Flat, with square ends, flatboats carried pioneers and their belongings, floating them to new settlements. They moved on river currents and by long oars, which were also used for steering. The keelboat, a long, narrow craft pointed at one or both ends, is sometimes called a flatboat; it was also used for transporting people and goods during the 1800s.

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