Robert de La Salle

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  • I will have enough money to become an explorer if I sell my land. What if I was the first to find a passage to China?
  • We only have enough supplies to last until we get to the passage or go back to the settlement, we must turn around.
  • You can explore the "western parts of New France," but it will be at your expense.
  • Thank you, King Louis!
  • Robert de La Salle started out as a colonist in Montreal, with a grant of land that he farmed and set up a trading post on. Through trade he heard stories of the lands beyond the settlements, and new Indian languages. He soon became obsessed with the idea of being an explorer and finding a passage to China.
  • In 1669, he started his first expedition to find the Northwest Passage. La Salle wasn't well prepared so he had to turn back before he reached the river that he thought was the passage.
  • We should call this region Louisiana in honor of King Louis.
  • In 1677, in pursuit of his own glory, he returned to France and got permission from the King to explore all lands between Florida, Mexico and New France.
  • After stockpiling his supplies and building a ship, in 1679, La Salle and his crew explored parts of the Great Lakes.
  • On Feburary 6, 1682, La Salle and 40 men reached the Mississippi River and began their travels. Two months later he had claimed the entire Mississippi River Basin for France, and named the region Louisiana after their king.
  • His last expedition was to claim the mouth of the Mississippi and conquer Spanish territory. Just after leaving France, La Salle and the naval commander started fighting, from there it went downhill. Vessels were lost by piracy and shipwreck, while sickness took a heavy toll of the Frenchmen. Finally, a big miscalculation brought the ships, to Texas, 500 miles west of their planned destination. After several failed attempts at finding it, La Salle died at the hands of mutineers.
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