René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle

René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle (November 22, 1643 – March 19, 1687) was a 17th century French explorer and fur trader in North America. He explored the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada, the Mississippi River, and the Gulf of Mexico. He is best known for an early 1682 expedition in which he canoed the lower Mississippi River from the mouth of the Illinois River to the Gulf of Mexico and claimed the entire Mississippi River basin for France.

La Salle is often credited with being the first European to traverse the Ohio River, and sometimes the Mississippi as well. It has now been established that Joliet and Marquette preceded him on the Mississippi in their journey of 1673-74, and the existing historical evidence does not indicate that La Salle ever reached the Ohio/Allegheny Valley.

René-Robert Cavelier
Cavelier de la salle
A 19th-century engraving of Cavelier de La Salle
BornNovember 22, 1643
DiedMarch 19, 1687 (aged 43)
present day Huntsville, Texas
Known forexploring the Great Lakes,
Mississippi River,
and the Gulf of Mexico
De La Salle Signature

Sieur de La Salle

Sieur de La Salle is a French title roughly translating to "Lord of the manor", from the old French sal(e) (modern salle), "hall", a manor house. Sieur is a French title of nobility, similar to the English "Sir", but under the French Signeurial system, the title is purchased rather than earned, and does not imply military duty. It refers to Robert Cavelier's Signeurial purchase of Lachine from the Sulpician order at Ville Marie around 1667. The phrase La Salle has become iconic, and associated with the person as if it were his name, in expressions such as Robert La Salle, or simply "La Salle".

Early life

Coat of Arms of René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle
Coat of Arms of René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle

Robert Cavelier was born on November 22, 1643, into a comfortably well-off family in Rouen, France, in the parish Saint-Herbland.[1] When he was younger, he enjoyed science and nature. As a man, he studied with the Jesuit religious order and became a member after taking initial vows in 1660.[a] At his request on March 27, 1667, after he was in Canada, he was released from the Society of Jesus after citing "moral weaknesses."[3] Although he left the order, never took final vows in it, and later became hostile to it, historians sometimes described him incorrectly as a priest or a leader.


La Salle never married,[4] but has been linked to Madeleine de Roybon d'Allonne, an early settler of New France.[5] His older brother, Jean Cavelier, was a Sulpician priest. His parents were Jean Cavelier and Catherine Geest.[3]


Required to reject his father's legacy when he joined the Jesuits, La Salle was nearly destitute when he traveled as a prospective colonist to North America. He sailed for New France in the spring of 1666.[6] His brother Jean, a Sulpician priest, had moved there the year before. He was granted a seigneurie on land at the western end of the Island of Montreal, which became known as Lachine.[7] [b] La Salle immediately began to issue land grants, set up a village and learn the languages of the native people, several tribes of Iroquois in this area.[8]


"Ohio" expedition[c]


The Seneca told him of a great river, called the Ohio, which flowed into the sea, the "Vermilion Sea".[d]. He began to plan for expeditions to find a western passage to China. He sought and received permission from Governor Daniel Courcelle and Intendant Jean Talon to embark on the enterprise. He sold his interests in Lachine to finance the venture.[10]


La Salle left Lachine by the St. Lawrence on July 6, 1669 with a flotilla of nine canoes and 24 men, plus their Seneca Indian guides: himself and 14 hired men in 4 canoes, the two Sulpicians Dollier de Casson and Abbé René de Bréhan de Galinée with 7 new recruits in three canoes, and two canoes of Indians. There they went up the St. Lawrence and across Lake Ontario. After 35 days, they arrived at what we call today, Irondequoit Bay on the southern shore of Lake Ontario at the mouth of Irondequoit Creek, a place now commemorated as "La Salle's Landing".

Indian villages

There they were greeted by a party of Indians, who escorted them starting the next day to a village some leagues distant, a journey of a few days. At the village, the Seneca vehemently attempted to dissuade the party from proceeding into the lands of their enemies, the Algonquins, telling of the dire fate awaiting them. The necessity of securing guides for the further part of the journey, and the obstinacy of the Seneca to provide them, delayed the expedition a month. A fortuitous capture by the Indians in the lands to the south of a Dutchman who spoke Iroquois well but French ill, and was to be burned at the stake for transgressions unknown, provided an opportunity to obtain a guide. The Dutchman's freedom was purchased by the party in exchange for wampum.

While at the Indian village in Sept. 1669, La Salle was seized with a violent fever[e] and expressed the intention of returning to Ville Marie.

Niagara and Lake Erie

At this juncture, he parted from his company and the narrative of the Jesuits, who continued on to upper Lake Erie.The missionaries continued on to the upper lakes, to the land of the Potawatomies. Other accounts have it that some of La Salle's men soon returned to New Holland or Ville Marie.

Further evidence

Beyond that, the factual record of La Salle's first expedition ends, and what prevails is obscurity and fabrication. It is likely that he spent the winter in Ville Marie.[12] The next confirmed sighting of La Salle was by Nicolas Perrot on the Ottawa River near the Rapide des chats in early summer, 1670, hunting with a party of Iroquois. That would be 700 miles as the crow flies from the Falls of the Ohio, the point supposed by some that he reached on the Ohio River.[13]

La Salle's own journal of the expedition was lost in 1756.[14] Two indirect historical accounts exist. The one, Récit d’un ami de l’abbé de Galliné, purported to be a recitation by La Salle himself to an unknown writer during his visit to Paris in 1678[15], and the other Mémoire sur le projet du sieur de la Salle pour la descouverte de la partie occidentale de l’Amérique septentrionale entre la Nouvelle-France, la Floride et le Mexique. A letter from Madeleine Cavelier, his now elderly niece, written in 1746, commenting on the journal of La Salle in her possession may also shed some light on the issue.

La Salle himself never claimed to have discovered the Ohio River.[16] In a letter to the intendent Talon in 1677, he claimed discovery of a river, the Baudrane, flowing southwesterly with its mouth on Lake Erie and emptying into the Saint Louis (i.e. the Mississippi), a hydrography which was non-existent. In those days, maps as well as descriptions were based part on observation and part on hearsay, of necessity. This confounded courses, mouths and confluences among the rivers. At various times, La Salle invented such rivers as the Chucagoa, Baudrane, Louisiane (Anglicized "Saint Louis"), and Ouabanchi-Aramoni. These included segments of those he'd actually traversed, which were earlier the Illinois and Kankakee, St. Joseph's of Lake Michigan, probably the Ouabache (Wabash) and possibly the upper Allegheny and later, the Chicago and lower Mississippi. He also correctly described the Missouri, though it was hearsay - he'd never been on it.

Confounding fact with fiction started with publication in 1876 of Margry's Découvertes et Etablissements des Français. Margry was a French archivist and partisan who had private access to the French archives. He came to be the agent of the American historian Francis Parkman. Margry's work, a massive 9 volumes, encompassed an assemblage of documents some previously published, but many not. In it, he sometimes published a reproduction of the whole document, and sometimes only an extract, or summary, not distinguishing the one from the other. He also used in some cases one or another copies of original documents previously edited, extracted or altered by others, without specifying which transcriptions were original, and which were copies, or whether the copy was dated earlier or later. Reproductions were scattered in fragments across chapters, so that it was impossible to ascertain the integrity of the document from its fragments. Chapter headings were oblique and sensational, so as to obfuscate the content therein. English and American scholars were immediately skeptical of the work, since full and faithful publication of some of the original documents had previously existed. The situation was so fraught with doubt, that the United States Congress appropriated $10,000 in 1873, which Margry wanted as an advance, to have the original documents photostated, witnessed by uninvolved parties as to veracity.

Discovery of the Ohio and Mississippi

If La Salle is excused from discovering the two great rivers of the midwest, history does not leave a void. On May 8, 1541, south of present-day Memphis, Tennessee, Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto reached the Mississippi River, which the Spanish called the Rio Grande for its immense size.[17] He was the first European to document and cross the river, though not traverse it. It is uncontested that Louis Joliet and Jacques Marquette were the first Europeans to traverse the upper Mississippi in 1673,[18] and that Father Louis Hennepin and Antonine Augalle visited the Falls of St. Anthony on the upper Mississippi in spring, 1680,[19] in advance of La Salle's own excursion in early 1682.

Credit for discovery of the Ohio River is provisionally given to two obscure early English explorers, Thomas Batts and Robert Fallam from Virginia who visited Wood's River (today called the New River), a tributary of the Ohio via the Kanawha, in what is today West Virginia in Sept. 1671.[20] Other scholars declaim that this short (one month) expedition did not penetrate to the Ohio to the west, but elect instead Virginia Englishmen James Needham and Gabriel Arthur who in 1673-74 circumnavigated the southeast finally traversing Shawnee villages along the Ohio.[21] The lower Ohio River first began appearing on French maps about 1674[22] in approximately its correct hydrography, and in its relation to the Mississippi, though diagrammed more northerly, approaching Lake Erie from the west and may have been confounded with the Maumee portage route.[23] A memoir by M. de Denonville in 1688, recites that the lower Ohio, at least from its confluence with the Wabash to the Mississippi, was a familiar trade route.[24] In 1692, Arnout Viele, a Dutchman from New York, traversed the length of the Ohio from the headwaters of the Allegheny in Pennsylvania to it's mouth on the Mississippi, though the hydrography of the Allegheny remained opaque for at least several decades thereafter.[25]

Great Lakes forts

La Salle Fort Frontenac
Depiction of La Salle inspecting the reconstruction of Fort Frontenac, 1675. Painting by John David Kelly.

On July 12, 1673, the Governor of New France, Louis de Buade de Frontenac, arrived at the mouth of the Cataraqui River to meet with leaders of the Five Nations of the Iroquois to encourage them to trade with the French. While the groups met and exchanged gifts, Frontenac's men, led by La Salle, hastily constructed a rough wooden palisade on a point of land by a shallow, sheltered bay. Originally the fort was named Fort Cataraqui but was later renamed Fort Frontenac by La Salle in honor of his patron. The purpose of Fort Frontenac was to control the lucrative fur trade in the Great Lakes Basin to the west. The fort was also meant to be a bulwark against the English and Dutch, who were competing with the French for control of the fur trade.[26] La Salle was left in command of the fort in 1673.

Thanks to his powerful protector, the discoverer managed, during a voyage to France in 1674–75, to secure for himself the grant of Fort Cataraqui and acquired letters of nobility for himself and his descendants.[3] With Frontenac's support, he received not only a fur trade concession, with permission to establish frontier forts, but also a title of nobility. He returned and rebuilt Frontenac in stone. An Ontario Heritage Trust plaque describes La Salle at Cataraqui as "[a] major figure in the expansion of the French fur trade into the Lake Ontario region, Using the fort as a base, he undertook expeditions to the west and southwest in the interest of developing a vast fur-trading empire."[27] Henri de Tonti joined his explorations as his lieutenant.

In early 1679, La Salle's expedition built Fort Conti at the mouth of the Niagara River on Lake Ontario. There they loaded supplies from Fort Frontenac into smaller boats (canoes or bateaux), so they could continue up the shallow and swiftly flowing lower Niagara River to what is now the location of Lewiston, New York. There the Iroquois had a well-established portage route which bypassed the rapids and the cataract later known as Niagara Falls.

The first ship built by La Salle, called the Frontenac, a 10-ton single-decked brigantine or barque was lost in Lake Ontario, on January 8, 1679. Afterward, La Salle built Le Griffon, a seven-cannon, 45-ton barque, on the upper Niagara River at or near Cayuga Creek. She was launched on August 7, 1679.

La Salle sailed in Le Griffon up Lake Erie to Lake Huron, then up Huron to Michilimackinac and on to present-day Green Bay, Wisconsin. Le Griffon left for Niagara with a load of furs, but was never seen again. He continued with his men in canoes down the western shore of Lake Michigan, rounding the southern end to the mouth of the Miami River (now St. Joseph River), where they built a stockade in January 1680. They called it Fort Miami (now known as St. Joseph, Michigan). There they waited for Tonti and his party, who had crossed the Lower Michigan peninsula on foot.

Tonti arrived on November 20; on December 3, the entire party set off up the St. Joseph, which they followed until they had to take a portage at present-day South Bend, Indiana. They crossed to the Kankakee River and followed it to the Illinois River. There they built Fort Crèvecoeur, which later led to the development of present-day Peoria, Illinois. La Salle set off on foot for Fort Frontenac for supplies. While he was gone, the soldiers at Ft. Crevecoeur, led by Martin Chartier, mutinied, destroyed the fort, and exiled Tonti, whom he had left in charge.[28] He later captured most of the mutineers on Lake Ontario, before rendezvousing with Tonti at St. Ignace, Michigan.

Mississippi expedition

Lasalle au Mississippi
Color reproduction of Taking possession of Louisiana and the River Mississippi, in the name of Louis XIVth by Jean-Adolphe Bocquin.

La Salle reassembled a party for another major expedition. In 1682 he departed Fort Crevecoeur with a group of Frenchmen and Indians and canoed down the Mississippi River. He named the Mississippi basin La Louisiane[29] in honor of Louis XIV and claimed it for France. At what later became the site of Memphis, Tennessee, he built the small Fort Prudhomme. On April 9, 1682, at the mouth of the Mississippi River near modern Venice, Louisiana, he buried an engraved plate and a cross, claiming the territory for France.

In 1683, on his return voyage, La Salle established Fort Saint-Louis of Illinois, at Starved Rock on the Illinois River, to replace Fort Crevecoeur. He appointed Tonti to command the fort while he traveled to France for supplies.

Texas expedition

Painting by Theodore Gudin titled La Salle's Expedition to Louisiana in 1684. The ship on the left is La Belle, in the middle is Le Joly, and L'Aimable is to the right. They are at the entrance to Matagorda Bay

On July 24, 1684,[29] he departed France and returned to America with a large expedition designed to establish a French colony on the Gulf of Mexico, at the mouth of the Mississippi River. They had four ships and 300 colonists. The expedition was plagued by pirates, hostile Indians, and poor navigation. One ship was lost to pirates in the West Indies, a second sank in the inlets of Matagorda Bay. They founded a settlement, near the bay which they called the Bay of Saint Louis, on Garcitas Creek in the vicinity of present-day Victoria, Texas. La Salle led a group eastward on foot on three occasions to try to locate the mouth of the Mississippi. In the meantime, the flagship La Belle, the only remaining ship, ran aground and sank into the mud, stranding the colony on the Texas coast.

During a final search for the Mississippi River, some of La Salle's remaining 36 men mutinied, near the site of present Navasota, Texas.[f] On March 19, 1687, he was slain by Pierre Duhaut during an ambush while talking to Duhaut's decoy, Jean L'Archevêque.[31] They were "six leagues" from the westernmost village of the Hasinai (Tejas) Indians.[29] Duhaut was killed to avenge La Salle. The remaining men in the party, afraid of retribution, killed each other, except for two.

The colony lasted only until 1688, when Karankawa-speaking Native Americans killed the 20 remaining adults and took five children as captives. Tonti sent out search missions in 1689 when he learned of the settlers' fate, but failed to find survivors.[32] The children of the colony were later recovered by the Spanish.


De la Salle
Statue of de La Salle located in Navasota, Texas
Statue of La Salle in Lincoln Park, Chicago, as seen in the January 1919 issue of National Geographic Magazine.
La Salle Plaque NY 1934
Bronze plaque honoring LA SALLE, at Old Fort Niagara, NY.
Memorial Plaque to de La Salle in Rouen

In addition to the forts, which also served as authorized agencies for the extensive fur trade, La Salle's visits to Illinois and other Indians cemented the French policy of alliance with Indians in the common causes of containing both Iroquois influence and Anglo-American settlement. He also gave the name Louisiana to the interior North American territory he claimed for France, which lives on in the name of a US state.


In 1995, La Salle's primary ship La Belle was discovered in the muck of Matagorda Bay. It has been the subject of archeological research.[33][34] Through an international treaty, the artifacts excavated from La Belle are owned by France and held in trust by the Texas Historical Commission. The collection is held by the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History. Artifacts from La Belle are shown at nine museums across Texas. The wreckage of his ship L'Aimable has yet to be located.

The possible remains of Le Griffon were found in 1898 by lighthouse keeper Albert Cullis, on a beach on the western edge of Manitoulin Island in northern Lake Huron. Results of testing some of the artifacts were disputed. Many of the recovered artifacts were lost and the wreck was washed away in 1942.[35][36] A possible shipwreck of Le Griffon near Poverty Island at the entrance to Green Bay in northern Lake Michigan was located by Steve Libert of the Great Lakes Exploration Group in 2001. The organization prevailed in a lawsuit against the state of Michigan over ownership of artifacts in 2012, and in 2013 was issued a permit to excavate the wreck. Only one artifact, a wood pole, was recovered, and it is indeterminate whether it was from a shipwreck.

Place names

Many places, streets, parks, buildings and other things were named in La Salle's honor:

Counties and towns

Parks and streets

Buildings and other


  1. ^ The Order prohibited a man taking final vows before the age of twenty-five. He was still considered a part of the Order as he was later barred to his inheritance.[2]
  2. ^ This was apparently from the French la Chine, for China. The reference is unclear, but may refer to his intent to find a route to the orient.
  3. ^ For this, we have the detailed record of the journey of Casson and Galinee whom La Salle accompanied[9] from which all historians take their accounts
  4. ^ what we now call the Gulf of California
  5. ^ according to Parkman, it may have been caused by the sight of three rattlesnakes on a rock he was ascending [11]
  6. ^ There is some disagreement about accepting Navasota as the site of La Salle's death. The historian Robert Weddle, for example, believes that his travel distances were miscalculated, and that he was murdered just east of the Trinity River.[30]
  1. ^ Parkman, Francis (1869). "Chapter 1: Cavelier De La Salle". The Discovery of the Great West. France and England in North America. Vol. 3. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. p. 1.
  2. ^ Parkman (1869), p. 2, note 1
  3. ^ a b c Dupré, Céline (1979) [1966]. "Cavelier De La Salle, René-Robert". In Brown, George Williams. Dictionary of Canadian Biography. I (1000–1700) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  4. ^ Margry, Pierre. Découvertes et établissement des Français dans l'ouest et dans le sud de l'Amérique Septentrionale [Discoveries and French Settlement in the West and South of North America] (in French). Vol. 2. p. 88.
  5. ^ Dupré, Céline (1979) [1969]. "Roybon D'Allonne, Madeleine De". In Hayne, David. Dictionary of Canadian Biography. II (1701–1740) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  6. ^ Parkman (1869), p. 4
  7. ^ Parkman (1869), pp. 6–8
  8. ^ Parkman (1869), p. 8
  9. ^ The Voyage of Dollier de Casson & Galinee 1669-1670, by Galinee
  10. ^ Parkman (1869), pp. 7–9
  11. ^ Parkman (1869), p.10
  12. ^ Parkman (1869), p. 19
  13. ^ It is puported by some that he journeyed via a stream passing six or seven leagues south of lake Erie, which was a tributary of the Ohio, to that river, thence downstream so far as the Falls of the Ohio below the site of the modern city of Louisville, where his crew abandoned him, and he returned to Canada on his own.
  14. ^ Parkman (1869), p. 19
  15. ^ later attributed to <name>, the publisher of the Gazette de France
  16. ^ Krauskauf P. 147
  17. ^ Morison, Samuel (1974). The European Discovery of America: The Southern Voyages, 1492–1616. New York: Oxford University Press.
  18. ^ Parkman, Francis. France and England in North America, Volume 1. New York: Library of America, 1983, p.
  19. ^ Description de la Louisiane,Father Louis Hennepin, 1683
  20. ^ Alvord (1922), p. 19 and 187-192
  21. ^ Jillson, Willard R., The Discovery of Kentucky, 1922
  22. ^ the map of Joliet of that date
  23. ^ R. E. Banta, The Ohio, 1949, p. 49
  24. ^ Dillon, John Brown, A History of Indiana, 1859, p. 400
  25. ^ Hanna, p.143
  26. ^ "The History of Fort Frontenac". The Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  27. ^ "Plaque information: René-Robert Cavelier de La Salle at Cataracoui". Ontario Heritage Trust. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  28. ^ "Fort Crevecoeur – built in 1680". Fort Crevecoeur Park and Campground. April 1, 2015. Archived from the original on November 12, 2015.
  29. ^ a b c Weddle, Robert S. (October 30, 2011). "La Salle's Texas Settlement". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  30. ^ Joutel, Foster & Warren (1998), p. 35
  31. ^ Joutel, Foster & Warren (1998), p. 199
  32. ^ Joutel, Foster & Warren (1998), p. 13
  33. ^ "La Salle Archeology Projects". Texas Historical Commission. August 4, 2015.
  34. ^ Parker, Dan (1996). "Raising The Belle – La Salle's last ship". Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Archived from the original on March 16, 2005.
  35. ^ The Wreck of the Griffon, Kohl and Forsberg, 2015. Seawolf Publishing Co.
  36. ^ Ashcroft, Ben. "Le Griffon: The Great Lakes' greatest mystery". The Detroit Free Press. USA Today.
  37. ^ Randall, Frank Alfred; Randall, John D. (1999). History of the Development of Building Construction in Chicago. University of Illinois Press. p. 271. ISBN 0-252-02416-8.


Further reading

External links

1682 in science

The year 1682 in science and technology involved some significant events.

1687 in France

Events from the year 1687 in France


The Cahinnio were a Native American tribe that lived in Arkansas.The Cahinnio were part of the Caddo Confederacy, possibly affiliated with Kadohadacho. In 1687 French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle encountered the tribe, they settled near Red River, in southwest Arkansas.In July 1687, Father Anastasius Douay, a French priest, visited a Cahinnio village near present-day Arkadelphia, Arkansas.In the 1680s, French explorer Henri Joutel traveled with the La Salle expedition, to Cahinnio territory. He wrote that they presented his expedition with two loaves of corn bread, describing it as "the finest and the best we had so far seen; they seemed to have been baked in an oven, and yet we not noticed any among them." Joutel noted that corn was an important food staple among the Cahinnio, as were beans and sunflower seeds. Additionally he recorded that the Cahinnio used deer hide for pouches and bearskins for rugs.The Cahinnio were known for their superior bows, which they made from Osage orange wood.During the 18th century, the Cahinnio moved northwest, possibly due to new sources of salt and horses. They settled along the southern bank of the Ouachita River. By 1763, they moved to the upper Arkansas River. In 1771, the Cahinnio and several neighboring tribes signed a peace treaty with the French.Ultimately, they assimilated into other Kadohadacho tribes by the 19th century. They are enrolled in the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma today.

Chronology of the Indiana Dunes

The Indiana dunes have been a cross road of activity since the glacier receded. Great explorers such as Jacques Marquette and René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle traversed this area. As early as 1862, the area was noted for its unique natural resources. At the start of the 20th century, the dunes were a living laboratory for scientist studying plants, animals, and the changes in the land. The first ecologist (Henry Chandler Cowles) did his pioneering work here.

A student of Cowles, O. D. Frank continued Cowle's studies. A museum honoring his work called the Hour Glass is located in Ogden Dunes. Many citizens and politicians have helped to preserve parts of the Indiana Dunes.

Fort Conti

Fort Conti was built in early 1679 at the mouth of the Niagara River on Lake Ontario as a post for the French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle. Because of the fort's location, the French hoped to control the fur trade in the lower Great Lakes. The fort was named after Louis Armand I, Prince of Conti, the patron of La Salle's lieutenant, Henri de Tonti.

The storehouse and stockade were used as a shifting point for ships coming from Fort Frontenac (modern day Kingston, Ontario); the supplies would then be further shipped by canoes or bateaux up the river to current day Lewiston, New York, portaged up the Niagara Escarpment and carried past Niagara Falls to a place where the swift currents would not endanger the supplies, craft or crew. At this place, believed to be somewhere around current-day La Salle, New York (part of the city of Niagara Falls, New York, local historians place the site on Cayuga Island in Jayne Park.)

La Salle built a larger boat (most likely a reassembled boat taken apart at Fort Conti), and christened it Le Griffon and used her for the exploration of the river and Lake Erie in his search for a passage to the East Indies. In the summer of 1679 the fort was garrisoned by a handful of men while La Salle explored the upper lakes; The men returned to Fort Frontenac saying it was burned by "Indian raiders"; probably a cover to escape a brutal windswept winter on the shores of Ontario. The story is unlikely because natives in the area did not begin to become hostile until a few years later. Nonetheless the fort burned in late 1679, and was never rebuilt. Later the site would serve the French as Fort Denonville, which failed after less than a year, and later as the more permanent Fort Niagara which still stands today.

The site is now operated by a not-for-profit corporation within Fort Niagara State Park in the town of Porter, just north of Youngstown, New York.

Fort Miami (Michigan)

Fort Miami was a fort on the bank of the St. Joseph River at the site of the present-day city of St. Joseph, Michigan, in the United States.

It was established in November 1679 by a band of French explorers led by René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle on the banks of what was then called the River Miami as a mission and Indian trading outpost. His soldiers destroyed it the next year. It was rebuilt in winter 1680-81.

In 1700, a second fort was erected by a visiting Jesuit mission and remained in French possession until the French and Indian War (1754-1763), at which point it was conquered by the British.

It came under the command of Colonel John Colonel, who with a handful of soldiers resisted regular attacks by surrounding indigenous tribes. It fell to a raiding party during Pontiac’s Rebellion in 1763 until quickly returning to British rule at the end of the same year.


Ganneious is a former Iroquois village, settled by the Oneida, located on the North Shore of Lake Ontario near the present site of Napanee, Ontario, Canada.:Ganneious was settled temporarily as part of a mid 17th century push by the Iroquois Confederacy north, from their traditional homeland in New York state. The village was one of seven northern bases for the Iroquois from which to hunt beaver and other fur bearers and to control the flow of furs from the north and west to the markets at Albany. The village was located on or near the fertile and productive soils of the Hay Bay area, near Fredericksburg and Cataraqui. The exact location of the village has not been determined.In 1673, the French built Fort Frontenac, which is located in modern day Kingston, Ontario and approximately 40 kilometres from Ganneious. The establishment of the fort had a significant impact on Ganneious. French missionaries made several attempts to encourage the population in Ganneious to resettle closer to the Fort, in order to Christianize, Europeanize and encourage them to learn trades and farm. In 1675, René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle and Father Louis Hennepin undertook a journey to Ganneious to convince the Oneida settled there to relocate closer to Fort Frontenac. One of Hennepin's accounts from suggests that he was successful and able to convince some people from Ganneious to move and settle around the fort:

"While the brink of the lake was frozen, I walk'd upon the ice to an Iroquois village called Ganneious, near to Kente (Quinte), about nine leagues from the fort - in the company of Sieur de La Salle above mentioned. These savages presented us with the flesh of elks and porcupine, which we fed upon. After having discours'd them some time, we returned bringing with us a considerable number of the natives, in order to form a little village of about forty cottages to be inhabited by them lying betwixt the fort and our House of Mission" (Thwaites 1903:47-48).In June 1687, under pressure from King Louis XIV to capture `prisoners of war for his galleys' the inhabitants of Ganneious were rounded up and held as captives by Jacques Rene de Brisay de Donneville. Donneville departed Montreal in June 1687 with 2,700 men. The troops took 200 prisoners from Kente and Ganneious and destroyed both villages. After 1687, all seven Iroquois Villages on the northern shore of Lake Ontario were abandoned.

Henri Joutel

Henri Joutel (c. 1643 – 1725), a French explorer and soldier, is known for his eyewitness history of the last North American expedition of René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle.Joutel was born in Rouen. After serving as a soldier, he joined La Salle's expedition and became the commander of La Salle's southern colony and base of operations in the New World at Fort Saint Louis (Texas). After the loss of the colony's ships, a mutiny, and La Salle's murder by others, in 1687–88, Joutel led members of the expedition back to France, going north, over land and river, by way of the Illinois Country to New France in what became Canada. Joutel's journal provides some of the earliest written information on the interior, natural history, and ethnography of central North America.After Joutel returned to France, he became a guard at the city gates of Rouen. He was unpersuaded by the Minister of Marine, Louis de Ponchartrain, to return to America but lent his journal. The journal returned to the Gulf Coast in the Iberville expedition that finally established a lasting French presence near the mouth of the Mississippi River in 1699.

History of Peoria, Illinois

The history of Peoria, Illinois, began when lands that eventually would become Peoria were first settled in 1680, when French explorers René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, and Henri de Tonti constructed Fort Crevecoeur. This fort later burned to the ground, and in 1813 Fort Clark was built. When the County of Peoria was organized in 1825, Fort Clark was officially named Peoria.

LaSalle Parish, Louisiana

LaSalle Parish (French: Paroisse de La Salle) is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. As of the 2010 census, the population was 14,890. The parish seat is Jena. The parish was created in 1910 from the western section of Catahoula Parish and named for René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle.

La Salle Causeway

The La Salle Causeway is a causeway that allows Highway 2 to cross the Cataraqui River (the southern entrance of the Rideau Canal) at Kingston, Ontario. The causeway separates Kingston's inner and outer harbours. Construction of the causeway was completed on April 15, 1917.Three bridges are incorporated into the causeway, the centre one being a Strauss trunnion bascule lift bridge designed by Joseph Strauss, designer of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

The La Salle Causeway was named after René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle who oversaw the construction of Fort Frontenac in 1673 at, what is now, the western end of the causeway.

La Salle County, Texas

La Salle County is a county in Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 6,886. Its county seat is Cotulla. The county was created in 1858 and later organized in 1880. It is named for René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, a 17th-century French explorer.

Michel Aco

Michel Aco (fl. 1680–1702, also known as Michel Accault) was a French explorer who, along with René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle and Father Louis Hennepin, explored the Mississippi River in 1679. Aco became La Salle's lieutenant because of his knowledge of Native American languages and his abilities as an explorer. When the party reached the Illinois River; Aco, Hennepin and another man were sent to explore the upper Mississippi. During their exploration, they became the first Europeans to see Carver's Cave and Saint Anthony Falls. They were later captured by Sioux Indians and held until the influence of Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut won their release. He was brought to the mouth of the Wisconsin River and went on to explore the Wisconsin River, the Fox River down to Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Mackinac Island, Michigan, and finally, in 1681, to Montreal. After his exploring days were over, Aco settled in Illinois and became a trader. He married Aramepinchieue, the daughter of a Kaskaskia chief in 1693, and had two children with her.

Nicolas de la Salle

Nicolas de la Salle (died 31 December 1710) was the first commissary appointed by the French king in the colony of Louisiana. He was the adversary of Bienville and eventually responsible for his removal from the office of governor.

La Salle was part of the René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, (no relation), expedition of 1682 in which all of the Mississippi basin was claimed for France.

He was also the brother-in-law of Robert de la salle/René-Robert Cavelier/Sieur de la Salle, as Nicolas married Robert's sister.

One North LaSalle

The One North LaSalle Building or One LaSalle Street Building is a building in the LaSalle Street corridor in the Loop community area of Chicago. It was for some time one of Chicago's tallest buildings. Built in 1930 by architects Vitzthum & Burns, it replaces the Tacoma Building by Holabird & Roche. The building is located across Madison Street from Roanoke Building. It was designated a Chicago Landmark on April 16, 1996, and added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 22, 1999. Its 5th floor relief panels depict the explorations of René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle.

Pass Cavallo (Texas)

Pass Cavallo, alternately known as Cavallo Pass, is one of five natural water inlets which separate the Gulf of Mexico and Matagorda Bay, in the U.S. state of Texas. René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle came ashore in Texas at this point. Matagorda Island Lighthouse was originally built on this site. During the Civil War, Pass Cavallo was a major port of entry and was captured by the Union

Peter Bisaillon

Peter Bisaillon (also Bezellon or Bizaillon), (baptized Pierre) (c. 1662 – 18 July 1742) was born in France and came to New France with four of his brothers; all of whom occupied themselves with the trade with various native tribes.

Pierre (Peter) was involved with Henri de Tonti and his exploration activities. Tonti was an associate of the famous explorer, René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle. Bisaillon was with Tonti when they set out to search for La Salle on the Mississippi in 1686.


The Quinipissa (sometimes spelled Kinipissa in French sources) were an indigenous group living on the lower Mississippi River, in present-day Louisiana, as reported by René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle in 1682.

They were joined together with the Mougoulacha. The combined group shared a village with the Bayagoula. In 1700 the Bayagoula massacred both the Quinipissa and Mougoulacha. In 1699, La Salle encountered a group of Quinipissa living with the Koroa in a village on the western bank of the Mississippi River.

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