Luis Joliet

Luis Joliet

Luis Joliet was born in France. He emigrated to New France and while on an expedition to find copper around Lake Superior he met the Roman Catholic missionary, Jacques Marquette.

In 1673 Joliet and Marquette explored the central portion of the Mississippi River and eventually reached the mouth of the Arkansas River. Joilet also explored the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Hudson Bay region.

Last updated: 26th July, 2002

Primary Sources

(1) In 1673 Luis Joliet and Jacques Marquette travelled along the Illinois River. Joliet wrote about his experiences in a letter to Claude Dablon (1st August, 1674).

The river which we named for Saint Louis, which rises near the lower end of the lake of the Illinois, seemed to me the most beautiful, and the most suitable for settlement. The place at which we entered the lake is a harbor, very convenient for receiving vessels and sheltering them from the wind. The river is wide and deep, abounding in catfish and sturgeon. Game is abundant there; oxen, cows, stags, does, and turkeys are found there in greater numbers than elsewhere.

A settler would not spend ten years in cutting down and burning the trees; on the very day of his arrival, he could put his plow into the ground. After sowing grain of all kinds, he might devote himself especially to planting the vine, and grafting fruit-trees; to dressing ox-hides, wherewith to make shoes; and with the wool of these oxen he could make cloth, much finer than most of that which we bring from France. Thus he would easily find in the country his food and clothing, and nothing would be wanting except salt.