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Marquette and Joliet experimenting the Mississippi

Upper Mississippi River. Oil paint by frank H. Zeitler, 1921. Source: Wisconsin historical Museum thing #1982.448.1


On may 17, 1673, father Jacques Marquette and also fur businessman Louis Joliet collection out on a four-month trip that carried them countless miles through the heart of north America to explore the path of the Mississippi River. Their voyage aided to begin the an initial non Native-American negotiation settlements in the north American inner that introduced Christianity into 600,000 square miles of wilderness, offered French names to cities from La Crosse to new Orleans, transformed classic Indian cultures, and virtually exterminated the fur-bearing mammals the the upper Midwest.

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The Explorers and Their Mission

The 2 explorers were an i can not qualify pair. Father Jacques Marquette to be a studious Jesuit 2 weeks shy of his 36th birthday. His partner, luigi Joliet was a 27-year-old ideology student who had end up being a hair trader.

In two canoes paddled by 5 voyageurs, Marquette and also Joliet left St. Ignace, at the head of Lake Michigan, on may 17, 1673. They overcome Wisconsin in between June 1 and June 17, then adhered to the Mississippi River numerous miles southern to Arkansas. ~ above July 16, near the mouth that the Arkansas River across from modern-day Rosedale, Mississippi, castle turned around. They had actually gone far enough to confirm that the Mississippi drained right into the Gulf that Mexico however not so much that they would be recorded by the Spanish. ~ above Sept. 30, 1673, they landed on St. Francis Xavier Mission at modern-day DePere, Wisconsin.

Discoveries along the Way

Marquette and Jolliet go not uncover the Mississippi. Indians had been making use of it for hundreds of years, and Spanish explorer Hernan De Soto had actually crossed it much more than a century before them. They walk confirm, however, that it was feasible to take trip from the great Lakes every the way to the Gulf that Mexico by water, that the native peoples that lived follow me the path were usually friendly, and also that the herbal resources that the lands in between were extraordinary. Equipped with this information, French officials led through the traveler LaSalle would erect a 4,000-mile network that trading write-ups to systematically exploit those wealth over the following century and also a half.

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Records the the Journey

Both males kept documents of the voyage. Marquette"s original journal put unread in a Jesuit archive in Montreal for almost 200 years. The following spring, Joliet headed house with the expedition"s various other records yet outside Montreal his canoe overturned and also all his notes to be lost. A few weeks later, he was interviewed about where he had actually gone and also what he had actually seen. Both men likewise drew maps of their voyage. Marquette"s journal was very first published in Paris in 1681, lot condensed and also accompanied through the very first map the the entire Mississippi River.