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Pere Jacques Marquette Monument

Historical Site Categories: Native American & French and Native American History

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What's The Story

Marquette was born in Laon, France in 1637 and educated by the Society of Jesus. Assigned to New France in 1666, he learned six different Native American dialects. It was while he was stationed in the western Great Lakes that he learned about a trading route along a major river in the midcontinent. His superiors approved his request to explore the river. In 1673 he and Louis Jolliet, a French-Canadian explorer and entrepreneur, departed St. Ignace located on the north end of Lake Michigan in May.

Marquette’s and Jolliet’s notes are among the first written records that document Native American life in the Illinois River Valley.

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