Louis Jolliet

Louis Jolliet (September 21, 1645 – last seen May 1700) was a French Canadian explorer known for his discoveries in North America.[1] Jolliet and Jesuit Father Jacques Marquette, a Catholic priest and missionary, were the first non-Natives to explore and map the Mississippi River in 1673.

Louis Jolliet
Louis Jolliet
Alfred Laliberté's Louis Jolliet sculpture in front of Parliament Building (Quebec)
BornSeptember 21, 1645
near Quebec City, Canada
Died1700 (aged 54–55)
en route from Quebec to Anticosti Island
AllegianceNew France (Canada)
AwardsJolliet was granted land south of Quebec in return for his favours
RelationsJacque Jolliet: Father
Other workCanadian explorer
Louis Jolliet Signature

Early life

Jolliet was born in 1645 in Beaupré, a French settlement near Quebec City.[2] When he was seven years old, his father died; his mother then married a successful merchant. Jolliet's stepfather owned land on the Ile d'Orleans, an island in the Saint Lawrence River in Quebec that was home to First Nations. Jolliet spent much time on Ile d'Orleans, so it was likely that he began speaking Indigenous languages of the Americas at a young age. During his childhood, Quebec was the center of the French fur trade. The Natives were part of day-to-day life in Quebec, and Joliet grew up knowing a lot about them. He entered a Jesuit school as a child and focused on philosophical and religious studies, aiming for priesthood. He also studied music, becoming a skilled harpsichordist and church organist. Yet he decided to leave the seminary as an adult and pursued fur trading instead.

Jolliet attended a Jesuit school in Quebec and received minor orders in 1662, but abandoned his plans to become a priest in 1667.[3] He spoke French, English, and Spanish.

Exploration of the Upper Mississippi

Marquette and jolliet map 1681
Ca. 1681 map of Marquette and Jolliet's 1673 expedition.

While Hernando de Soto was the first European to make official note of the Mississippi River by discovering its southern entrance in 1541, Jolliet and Marquette were the first to locate its upper reaches, and travel most of its length, about 130 years later. De Soto had named the river Rio del Espiritu Santo, but tribes along its length called it variations of "Mississippi".

On May 17, 1673, Jolliet and Marquette departed from St. Ignace, Michigan with two canoes and five other voyageurs of French-Indian ancestry (today's Métis). The group followed Lake Michigan to the end of Green Bay. They then paddled upstream (but southward) on the Fox River to the site now known as Portage, Wisconsin. There, they portaged (carried their canoes and gear) a distance of slightly less than two miles through marsh and oak forest to the Wisconsin River. Europeans eventually built a trading post at that shortest convenient portage between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins. On June 17, the canoeists ventured onto the Mississippi River near present-day Prairie du Chien.

The Jolliet-Marquette expedition traveled down the Mississippi to within 435 miles (700 km) of the Gulf of Mexico. They turned back north at the mouth of the Arkansas River. By this point, they had encountered natives carrying European goods, and worried about a possible hostile encounter with explorers or colonists from Spain.[4] The voyageurs then followed the Mississippi back to the mouth of the Illinois River, which friendly natives told them was a shorter route back to the Great Lakes. Following the Illinois river upstream, they then turned up its tributary the Des Plaines River near modern-day Joliet, Illinois. They then continued up the Des Plaines river, and portaged their canoes and gear at the Chicago Portage. They then followed the Chicago River downstream until they reached Lake Michigan near the location of modern-day Chicago. Father Marquette stayed at the mission of St. Francis Xavier at the southern end of Green Bay, which they reached in August. Joliet returned to Quebec to relate the news of their discoveries.

Marquette returned to what later became the Illinois Country in late 1674. He became the first Europeans to winter over in what would become the city of Chicago.[5]

Later years

Jolliet married Claire-Francoise Byssot de la Valtrie, who was Canadian. She was a daughter of Francois Byssot de la Riviere and his wife Marie Couillard. Claire Francoise was also a sister of Louise Byssot de la Valtrie, wife of Seraphin de Margane, Seigneur de la Valtrie. In 1680, Jolliet was granted the Island of Antwhere where he created a fort and maintained soldiers. In 1693, he was appointed "Royal Hydrographer", and on April 30, 1697, he was granted a seigneury southwest of Quebec City which he named Jolliest.

In 1694, he sailed from the Gulf of St. Lawrence north along the coast of Labrador as far north as Zoar, a voyage of five and a half months. He recorded details of the country, navigation, the Inuit and their customs. His journal ("Journal de Louis Jolliet allant à la descouverte de Labrador, 1694,") is the earliest known detailed survey of the Labrador coast from the Strait of Belle Isle to Zoar.

In May 1700, Louis Jolliet left for Anticosti Island and was presumed to have died. A mass for his soul was said on September 15, 1700. His body was never found, and the place and date of his death remain unknown.[6]

Jolliet was one of the first people of European descent born in North America to be remembered for significant discoveries. Though no authentic period portrait is known to exist, Jolliet is often portrayed wearing either typical frontiersman garb such as a fur hat or in sharp contrast, ensconced in the European nobleman's style that his personal wealth and prestige would have commanded although living in colonial society.


Plaque commemorating Jolliet in Chicago.
Louis Jolliet monument Quebec City
Monument commemorating Jolliet in Quebec City.

Jolliet's main legacy is most tangible in the Midwestern United States and Quebec, mostly through geographical names, including the cities of Joliet, Illinois; Joliet, Montana; and Joliette, Quebec (founded by one of Jolliet's descendants, Barthélemy Joliette).

The several variations in the spelling of the name "Jolliet" reflect spelling that occurred at times when illiteracy or poor literacy was common, and spelling was still highly unstandardized.[7] Jolliet's descendants live throughout eastern Canada and the United States. The Louis Jolliet rose, developed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, was named in his honor.[8]

The Jolliet Squadron of cadets at the Royal Military College Saint-Jean in the Province of Quebec was named in his honor. Joliet Junior College in Joliet, Illinois is named after the explorer, as are numerous high schools in North America.

A cruise ship sailing out of Quebec City is also named in his honour.

See also


  1. ^ Tanya Larkin (2003). Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet: Explorers of the Mississippi. The Rosen Publishing Group. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-8239-3625-0. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  2. ^ https://www.britannica.com/biography/Louis-Jolliet
  3. ^ Wilson, James Grant & Fiske, John (Eds.). Appleton's Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton and Company (1887), Vol. III, p. 461.
  4. ^ Cotton, Bruce (1984). Michigan: A History, p. 14. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-30175-3.
  5. ^ Wisconsin Historical Society
  6. ^ Slater, Renée (2003), "Marquette, Jacques (1637–1675), and Louis Jolliette (1645–1700)", in Speake, Jennifer, Literature of Travel and Exploration: an Encyclopedia, 2, Taylor & Francis, p. 771, ISBN 978-1-57958-424-5
  7. ^ Joliet, Louis
  8. ^ Louis Jolliet rose


External links

1645 in science

The year 1645 in science and technology involved some significant events.

1670s in Canada

Events from the 1670s in Canada.

1673 in France

Events from the year 1673 in France

1700 in Canada

Events from the year 1700 in Canada.

1700 in science

The year 1700 in science and technology involved some significant events.

Barthélemy Joliette

Barthélemy Joliette (September 9, 1789 – June 21, 1850) was a notary, businessman, seigneur and political figure in Lower Canada and Canada East.

He was born Barthélemy Jolliet at Montmagny in 1789, a descendant of the explorer Louis Jolliet. After his father's death, his mother remarried and he grew up in L'Assomption. He articled as a notary with his uncle, Joseph-Édouard Faribault, was qualified to practice in 1810 and set up practice in L'Assomption. Joliette served as a captain in the local militia during the War of 1812. In 1813, he married Charlotte Lanaudière, daughter of Charles-Gaspard Tarieu de Lanaudière and received as dowry part of the seigneury of Lavaltrie. He was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada for Leinster in March 1820; however, parliament was dissolved shortly afterwards and he did not run in the election that followed later that year.

After his mother-in-law died in 1822, Joliette took on much of the running of the family seigneuries. He had a sawmill built to convert the pine forests into lumber for export to Great Britain. Joliette also established a new village, Industrie, that was later to become Joliette. He was named justice of the peace in 1826 and promoted to lieutenant-colonel in the militia the following year. In 1830, he was elected to the legislative assembly for the newly formed riding of L'Assomption, formerly part of Leinster but only served until 1832, when he was appointed to the Legislative Council. In the meantime, he had expanded his lumber operations, although it was necessary to go further afield in such of timber. Joliette also built a distillery at Industrie and built a railroad to link it to Lanoraie. He also built a church and the Collège de Joliette, run by the Clerics of St Viator. He remained loyal to the government during the Lower Canada Rebellion and served on the Special Council that administered the province afterwards.

He appears to have been opposed to the union of Upper and Lower Canada. He was named to the Legislative Council of the Province of Canada in 1841, but attempted to organize support for a motion contesting the legality of the union.

He died in Industrie in 1850.

Besides the town of Joliette, rue Joliette and Joliette metro station in Montreal were named for him.

Illinois Country

The Illinois Country (French: Pays des Illinois, lit. "land of the Illinois (plural)", i.e. the Illinois people) — sometimes referred to as Upper Louisiana (French: la Haute-Louisiane; Spanish: Alta Luisiana) — was a vast region of New France in what is now the Midwestern United States. While these names generally referred to the entire Upper Mississippi River watershed, French colonial settlement was concentrated along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers in what is now the U.S. states of Illinois and Missouri, with outposts in Indiana. Explored in 1673 from Green Bay to the Arkansas River by the Canadien expedition of Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette, the area was claimed by France. It was settled primarily from the Pays d'en Haut in the context of the fur trade. Over time, the fur trade took some French to the far reaches of the Rocky Mountains, especially along the branches of the broad Missouri River valley. The French name, Pays des Illinois, means "Land of the Illinois [plural]" and is a reference to the Illinois Confederation, a group of related Algonquian native peoples.

Up until 1717, the Illinois Country was governed by the French province of Canada, but by order of King Louis XV, the Illinois Country was annexed to the French province of Louisiana, with the northeastern administrative border being somewhat vaguely on or near the upper Illinois River. The territory thus became known as "Upper Louisiana." By the mid-18th century, the major settlements included Cahokia, Kaskaskia, Chartres, Saint Philippe, and Prairie du Rocher, all on the east side of the Mississippi in present-day Illinois; and Ste. Genevieve across the river in Missouri, as well as Fort Vincennes in what is now Indiana.As a consequence of the French defeat in the Seven Years' War, the Illinois Country east of the Mississippi River was ceded to the British, and the land west of the river to the Spanish. Following the British occupation of the left bank (when heading downstream) of the Mississippi in 1764, some Canadien settlers remained in the area, while others crossed the river, forming new settlements such as St. Louis.

Eventually, the eastern part of the Illinois Country became part of the British Province of Quebec, while the inhabitants chose to side with the Americans during the Revolutionary War. Although the lands west of the Mississippi were sold in 1803 to the United States by France—which had reclaimed possession of Luisiana from the Spanish in the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso—French language and culture continued to exist in the area, with the Missouri French dialect still being spoken into the 20th century.Because of the deforestation that resulted from the cutting of much wood for fuel during the 19th-century age of steamboats, the Mississippi River became more shallow and broad, with more severe flooding and lateral changes in its channel in the stretch from St. Louis to the confluence with the Ohio River. As a consequence, many architectural and archaeological resources were lost to flooding and destruction of early French colonial villages originally located near the river, including Kaskaskia, St. Philippe, Cahokia, and Ste. Genevieve.

Isabelle Morin

Isabelle Morin (born February 14, 1985) is a Canadian politician, who represented the Quebec riding of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine in the House of Commons of Canada under the banner of the New Democratic Party from May 2011 to November 2015. She defeated the local long-time liberal MP Marlene Jennings by more than 4,000 votes in the 2011 federal election.Morin has a diploma in literature from Cégep François-Xavier Garneau in Quebec City and a bachelor of education from the Université de Sherbrooke. During her university studies, she was executive vice-president of the students’ federation (FEUS) and sat on the board of directors of the Fédération universitaire du Québec. In 2007 she co-founded Vélorution, an organization promoting the rights of bicyclists in Sherbrooke.

Before becoming a politician Morin taught French and drama at the secondary school Cavelier-De LaSalle. She also taught at the adult education 'Centre Louis-Jolliet' and 'Centre Saint-Michel' and the 'Centre de détention Sherbrooke' on rue Talbot.Prior to being elected Member of Parliament, Morin took part in various humanitarian missions abroad and visited more than 25 countries including Guatemala where she learnt a lot about fair trade. While travelling she came to appreciate the importance of intercultural exchange and cooperation.

Jacques Marquette

Father Jacques Marquette S.J. (June 1, 1637 – May 18, 1675), sometimes known as Père Marquette or James Marquette, was a French Jesuit missionary who founded Michigan's first European settlement, Sault Ste. Marie, and later founded St. Ignace, Michigan. In 1673, Father Marquette and Louis Jolliet were the first Europeans to explore and map the northern portion of the Mississippi River Valley.

Joliet East Side Historic District

The Joliet East Side Historic District is a set of 290 buildings in Joliet, Illinois. Of these 290 buildings, 281 contribute to the historical integrity of the area. Joliet was founded in 1831, deemed an ideal place for a settlement to reap the local natural resources. Most importantly, large beds of limestone provided a strong economic incentive to develop the area. Several important structures were constructed with Joliet limestone, including the Old State Capitol and Chicago Water Tower. Joliet incorporated in 1852 and prospered due to its location on the Illinois and Michigan Canal.

James B. Campbell platted the first East Side property in 1834 and named it Juliet after his daughter. Two years later, Will County was formed and Juliet was chosen as the county seat. Citizens on the land renamed the area Joliet in 1845 after French explorer Louis Jolliet. Thirty-two houses were constructed on the East Side between 1852 and 1873. The area was sought after because of its proximity to the railway station. The first mayor of Joliet, Cornelius Van Horn, built his residence here in 1852. Van Horn's son William became a magnate in the Canadian railroad industry.

By 1873, the East Side had a reputation as the most prestigious in the city. The region was anchored by the Jacob A. Henry Mansion; Henry was a wealthy railroad tycoon. The first churches in the area, the Central Presbyterian Church and the Richards Street Methodist Church, were built soon afterward. Commerce flourished on Washington street after a row of commercial structures were constructed. However, the area was hit particularly hard by the Great Depression. Many mansions, including the Jacob A. Henry Mansion, were converted into boarding houses or funeral parlors. The east side failed to recover from the depression; remaining houses were converted into multiple-family homes or abandoned. The construction of Interstate 80 in the 1960s revitalized Washington Street, but did little for the residential areas. In 1975, Joliet financed a program to assist East Side home owners to rehabilitate their homes. The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.


Lanaudière (French pronunciation: ​[la.no.djɛʁ], local pronunciation: [la.no.d͡zjaɛ̯ʁ]) is one of the seventeen administrative regions of Quebec, Canada, situated immediately to the northeast of Montreal. It has a total population (2006 census) of 429,053 inhabitants.

Martin Chartier

Martin Chartier (1 June 1655 – Apr 1718) was a French-Canadian explorer, a glove maker, and then a "white Indian", living much of his life amongst the Shawnee Native Americans.

Chartier accompanied Louis Jolliet on two of his journeys to the Illinois Territory, and went with René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle on his 1679-1680 journey to Lake Erie, Lake Huron, and Lake Michigan. Chartier assisted in the construction of Fort Miami and Fort Crèvecoeur where, on April 16, 1680, Chartier, along with six other men, mutinied, looted, and burned Fort Crèvecoeur down, and fled. In a letter dated 1682, La Salle stated that Martin Chartier "was one of these who incited the others to do as they did."Chartier sometimes was written as Chartiere, Chartiers, Shartee or Shortive.

Mitchigamea language

Mitchigamea or Michigamea is a language spoken by Mitchigamea people.

In 1673, Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet used a Mitchigamea man, who only spoke Illinois poorly, as a translator between the Illinois-speaking French, and the Siouan-speaking Quapaw. Jean Bernard Bossu provides two sentences from the mid-18th century which, according to John Koontz, indicate that Michigamea was a Siouan language of the Mississippi Valley branch.


The historic Miami-Illinois people who are today referred to as the Moingona or Moingwena were close allies of or perhaps part of the Peoria. They were assimilated by that tribe and lost their separate identity about 1700. The name "Moingona" was probably the basis for the name of the City of Des Moines, the Des Moines River, and Des Moines County, Iowa.

Jacques Marquette documented in 1672 that the Peolualen (the modern Peoria). and the mengakonkia (Moingona) were among the Ilinoue (Illinois) tribes who all "speak the same language."

Other names for them mentioned in 1672–73 records were "Mengakoukia," and "Mangekekis."In 1673 Marquette and Louis Jolliet left their canoes and followed a beaten path away from the river out onto the prairie to three Illinois villages within about a mile and a half of each other. Marquette identified only one of the villages at the time, the peouarea, but a later map apparently by him identified another as the Moingwena. He said of the 1673 meeting that there was "some difference in their language," but that "we easily understood each other."Father Jacques Gravier reports helping the close allies "Peouaroua and Mouingoueña" deal with a common adversary in 1700.Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix, a missionary who explored the region in 1721, recorded that "le Moingona" was "an immense and magnificent Prairie, all covered with Beef and other Hoofed Animals." He italicized the term to indicate it was a geographical term and noted that "one of the tribes bears that name." Charlevoix was a professor or belles lettres, and his spelling has come to be a preferred spelling in general and scholarly discussions.

Natashquan 1

Natashquan (officially Natashquan 1 and known in Innu as Nutashkuan) is a First Nations reserve in the Canadian province of Quebec, belonging to the Natashquan Innu band. The reserve is located on the north shore of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence at the mouth of the Natashquan River, 336 kilometres (209 mi) east of Sept-Îles and has been accessible by Route 138 since 1996.

The reserve should not be confused with the adjacent but distinct township of Natashquan just to the north and east.

The community is serviced by a nursing station, community radio station, municipal water and sewer system, fire station, and an aboriginal police force.The site was mapped in 1684 by Louis Jolliet who called it Noutascoüan. It was subsequently spelled as Nontascouanne (1734), Natasquan (1831), Nataskwan (1844), Natashkwan (1846), Natosquan (1857), Nataskouan (1858), and taking its current form, Natashquan, circa 1895. This name, spelled Nutahkuant or Nutashkuan in the contemporary Innu language, is usually translated as "where the black bear is taken" or "where one hunts for bear."

Nemiscau River

The Nemiscau River is a river flowing in the municipality of Baie-James, an administrative region of Nord-du-Québec, in Quebec, Canada.

Parliament Building (Quebec)

The Parliament Building (French: Hôtel du Parlement) is an eight-floor building in Quebec City and home to the Parliament of Quebec, composed of the Lieutenant-Governor and the National Assembly. The building was designed by architect Eugène-Étienne Taché and was built from 1877 to 1886. With the frontal tower, the building stands at 52 metres or 171 feet in height. The building is located in Place de l'Assemblée nationale, atop Parliament Hill in the district of Vieux-Québec–Cap-Blanc–colline Parlementaire, just outside the walls of Old Quebec; this area is part of the borough of La Cité-Limoilou.

Starved Rock State Park

Starved Rock State Park is a state park in the U.S. state of Illinois, characterized by the many canyons within its 2,630 acres (1,064 ha). Located just southeast of the village of Utica, in Deer Park Township, LaSalle County, Illinois, along the south bank of the Illinois River, the park hosts over two million visitors annually, the most for any Illinois state park.Before European contact, the area was home to Native Americans, particularly the Kaskaskia who lived in the Grand Village of the Illinois across the river. Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette were the first Europeans recorded as exploring the region, and by 1683, the French had established Fort St. Louis on a large sandstone butte overlooking the river, they called Le Rocher (the Rock). Later after the French had moved on, according to a local legend, a group of Native Americans of the Illinois Confederation (also called Illiniwek or Illini) pursued by the Ottawa and Potawatomi fled to the butte in the late 18th century. In the legend, around 1769 the Ottawa and Potawatomi besieged the butte until all of the Illiniwek had starved, and the butte became known as "Starved Rock". The area around The Rock was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960. The park region has been the subject of several archeological studies concerning both native and European settlements, and various other archeological sites associated with the park were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.

In the late 19th century, parkland was developed as a vacation resort. The resort was acquired by the State of Illinois in 1911 for a state park, which it remains today. Facilities in the park were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, which have also gained historic designation.

A flood from a melting glacier, approximately 14,000-17,000 years ago led to the topography of the site and its exposed rock canyons. Diverse forest plant life exists in the park and the area supports several wild animal species. Of particular interest has been sport fishing species.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.