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Grand Village of the Illinois

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What's The Story

In 1673, Pere Jacques Marquette, Louis Jolliet, and a small group of Frenchman began an epic journey from the north end of Lake Michigan to Green Bay, across Wisconsin to the Mississippi River, down the Mississippi River as far south as present-day Arkansas, where they turned around and headed upstream. When they reached the confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers, they took what they anticipated would be the most direct route back to Lake Michigan.

Late in the summer of 1673, the Frenchmen arrived at a village of 74 cabins located along more than two miles of river front upstream of Le Rocher on the opposite side of the river. When Marquette returned in 1675, there were 1,500 residents

Archaeologists re-discovered what remains of the village, also known as the Zimmerman site, in the 1940s and revisited the site in the 1970s and 1990s. Based on archaeological research, the Illinois may have occupied this location as early as 1640. .

To learn more:

Brown, Margaret Kimball 1975. The Zimmerman Site: Further Excavations at the Grand Village of Kaskaskia. Illinois State Museum, Reports of Investigations 32.

Mazrim, Robert F. 2015. Protohistory of the Grand Village of the Kaskaskia: The Illinois County on the Eve of Colony. Studies in Archaeology. Illinois Archaeological Survey.

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