Louis Jolliet

Essay by 3EJunior High, 7th gradeA+, January 2005

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Louis Jolliet (also spelled Joliet), was born in September 21, 1645 and died in the spring of may of 1700. He had been born and raised in New France. Jolliet was the first important explorer who was a European descendent and had been born in North America, which basically means that Jolliet was a French explorer who was the first European to travel down the Mississippi River from the Great Lakes.

In his earlier/younger life, he had been taught at the Jesuit seminary (in Quebec, Canada of course), but later left in 1667. He then journeyed to France to study hydrography (the charting bodies of water). About a year later he returned to Canada and became a fur trader, which was the main business in New France at that time, and that was where he met an explorer named Father Jacques Marquette.

In 1672, Jolliet was chosen by the two highest officials in New France to be the leader of a journey in search of the Mississippi River, after a year's study of hydrography in France and some years as a trader and trapper on the Great Lakes.

He, Father Marquette (who by the way was a Jesuit priest), and 5 other voyageurs, set out off in birch bark canoes. On July 17, 1673 they headed upstream. Paddling against the strong current made it difficult to travel, but the Indians told them an easier route so they traveled up the Illinois River that led them to Lake Michigan. They traveled from St. Ignace in May, 1673, then went west along the north shore of Lake Michigan to Green Bay, up the Fox River, and finally reached the Mississippi in mid-June. Jolliet and the others continued down the Mississippi, but by now they realized that it did not lead to...