A School History of the United States eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 417 pages of information about A School History of the United States.

Swedes.
   1638.  South Company makes settlement on the Delaware.
   1655.  Conquered by the Dutch.

CHAPTER VI

THE FRENCH IN THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY

%54.  The Early French Possessions% on our continent may be arranged in three great areas:  1.  Acadia, 2.  New France, 3.  Louisiana, or the basin of the Mississippi River.

ACADIA comprised what is now New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and a part of Maine.  It was settled in the early years of the seventeenth century at Port Royal (now Annapolis, Nova Scotia), at Mount Desert Island, and on the St. Croix River.

NEW FRANCE was the drainage basin of the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes.  As far back as 1535 Jacques Cartier explored the St. Lawrence River to the site of Montreal.  But it was not till 1608 that a party under Champlain made the first permanent settlement on the river, at Quebec.

The French settlers at once entered into an alliance with the Huron and Algonquin Indians, who lived along the St. Lawrence River.  But these tribes were the bitter enemies of the Iroquois, who dwelt in what is now central New York, and when, in consequence of this alliance, the French were summoned to take the warpath, Champlain, with a few followers, went, and on the shore of the lake which now bears his name, not far from the site of Ticonderoga, he met and defeated the Iroquois tribe of Mohawks in July, 1609.

The battle was a small affair; but its consequences were serious and lasting, for the Iroquois were thenceforth the enemies of the French, and prevented them from ever coming southward and taking possession of the Hudson and the Mohawk valleys.  When, therefore, the French merchants began to engage in the fur trade with the Indians, and the French priests began their efforts to convert the Indians to Christianity, they were forced to go westward further and further into the interior.

[Illustration:  EUROPEAN CLAIMS AND EXPLORATIONS 1650]

Their route, instead of being up the St. Lawrence, was up the Ottawa River to its head waters, over the portage to Lake Nipissing, and down its outlet to Georgian Bay, where the waters of the Great Lakes lay before them (see map on p. 63).  They explored these lakes, dotted their shores here and there with mission and fur-trading stations, and took possession of the country.

%55.  The French on the Mississippi.%—­In the course of these explorations the French heard accounts from the Indians of a great river to the westward, and in 1672 Father Marquette (mar-ket’) and Louis Joliet (zho-le-a’) were sent by the governor of New France to search for it.  They set out, in May, 1673, from Michilimackinac, a French trading post and mission at the foot of Lake Michigan.  With five companions, in two birch-bark canoes, they paddled up the lake to Green Bay, entered Fox River, and, dragging the boats through its boiling rapids,

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
A School History of the United States from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook