But his work was far from ended. The valley he had explored, the territory he had added to France, must be occupied, and to occupy it two things were necessary: 1. A colony must be planted at the mouth of the Mississippi, to control its navigation and shut out the Spaniards. 2. A strong fort must be built on the Illinois, to overawe the Indians.
In order to overawe the Indians, La Salle now hurried back to the Illinois River, where, in December, 1682, near the present town of Ottawa, on the summit of a cliff now known as “Starved Rock,” he built a stockade which he called Fort St. Louis. In 1684, while on a voyage from France to plant a colony on the Mississippi, he missed the mouth and brought up on the coast of Texas; and, landing on the sands of Matagorda Bay, the colonists built another Fort St. Louis. But death rapidly reduced their numbers, and, in their distress, they parted. Some remained at the fort and were killed by the Indians. Others, led by La Salle, started for the Illinois River and reached it; but without their leader, whom they had murdered on the way.
1. After the settlement of Quebec (1608) the French began to explore the regions lying to the west, discovered the Great Lakes, and heard of a great river—the Mississippi.
2. This river Marquette and Joliet explored from the mouth of the Wisconsin to the mouth of the Arkansas (1673).
3. Then La Salle floated down the Mississippi from the Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico, took formal possession of the valley in the name of his King, and called it Louisiana (1682).
[Illustration: Starved Rock]
[Illustration: A typical Indian]
%57%. When Europeans first set foot on our shores, they found the country already inhabited, and, adopting the name given to the men of the New World by Columbus, they called these people “Indians.”
They were not “Indians,” or natives of Asia, but a race by themselves, which ages before the time of Columbus was spread over all North and South America.
Like their descendants in the West to-day, they had red or copper-colored skins, their eyes and long straight hair were jet black, their faces beardless, and their cheek bones high.
%58. The Villages.%—–East of the Rocky Mountains the Indians lived in villages, often covering several acres in area, and surrounded by stockades of two and even three rows of posts. The stockade was pierced with loopholes, and provided with platforms on which were piles of stones for the defenders to hurl on the heads of their enemies. Sometimes the structures which formed the village were wigwams—rude structures made by driving poles into the ground in a circle, drawing their tops near together, and then covering them with bark or