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Marquette and Joliet Exploring the Mississippi

Upper Mississippi River. Oil paint by Frank H. Zeitler, 1921. Source: Wisconsin Historical Museum Object #1982.448.1


On May 17, 1673, Father Jacques Marquette and also fur trader Louis Joliet set out on a four-month voyage that carried them thousands of miles with the heart of North America to check out the course of the Mississippi River. Their voyage aided to initiate the initially non Native-American settlement settlements in the North Amerideserve to internal that presented Christianity into 600,000 square miles of wilderness, provided French names to cities from La Crosse to New Orleans, transcreated typical Indian cultures, and virtually exterminated the fur-bearing mammals of the Upper Midwest.

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The Explorers and also Their Mission

The 2 explorers were an unlikely pair. Father Jacques Marquette was a studious Jesuit 2 weeks shy of his 3sixth birthday. His partner, Louis Joliet was a 27-year-old approach student that had become a hair trader.

In two canoes paddled by five voyageurs, Marquette and also Joliet left St. Ignace, at the head of Lake Michigan, on May 17, 1673. They crossed Wisconsin in between June 1 and also June 17, then complied with the Mississippi River thousands of miles south to Arkansas. On July 16, near the mouth of the Arkansas River throughout from modern-day Rosedale, Mississippi, they turned around. They had gone far sufficient to confirm that the Mississippi drained into the Gulf of Mexico however not so much that they would be recorded by the Spanish. On Sept. 30, 1673, they arrived at St. Francis Xavier Mission at modern-day DePere, Wisconsin.

Discoveries Along the Way

Marquette and Jolliet did not discover the Mississippi. Indians had been using it for countless years, and also Spanish traveler Hernan De Soto had crossed it more than a century prior to them. They did confirm, however, that it was possible to take a trip from the Great Lakes all the method to the Gulf of Mexico by water, that the aboriginal peoples that lived alengthy the path were primarily friendly, and that the organic sources of the lands in in between were extraplain. Equipped through this information, French officials led by the traveler LaSalle would erect a 4,000-mile network of trading write-ups to systematically exploit those wealth over the following century and a fifty percent.

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Records of the Journey

Both men maintained records of the trip. Marquette"s original journal lay unread in a Jesuit archive in Montactual for virtually 200 years. The complying with spring, Joliet headed residence with the expedition"s various other documents yet exterior Montreal his canoe overturned and also all his notes were lost. A few weeks later, he was interperceived around wright here he had actually gone and what he had actually watched. Both males also attracted maps of their trip. Marquette"s journal was initially publimelted in Paris in 1681, a lot condensed and accompanied by the initially map of the entire Mississippi River.