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In 1667, Robert de La Salle, a French nobleman, sailed to "New France." As a fur trader along the St. Lawrence River, La Salle learned Indian languages and explored the Ohio River.
The Indians told him about a great river that flowed all the way south to the Gulf of Mexico.
La Salle dreamed not only of personal wealth but of a French empire of trading posts, forts, and settlements.
In 1681, he set out in canoes to travel the Mississippi River. Robert de La Salle claimed the Mississippi River for France in 1682.
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