International Explorers: The Frenchmen Part II

When it comes to the Great Lakes, what Frenchmen traveled to the region that we now call Illinois and Wisconsin? Did you know that a French explorer founded the city of Detroit? These facts and more are found in this article, which continues to state some of the accomplishments of curious French explorers of the past.

Jean Nicollet (1598 – 1642)

If you’re looking for the first European to pass through the Great Lakes region, it is Nicollet who accomplished this feat , paying a visit to Lake Michigan along the way and venturing to what is now known as Illinois and Wisconsin. There is also evidence to suggest that he may have reached the Mississippi River. For many years, the man felt right at home with the Native Americans that dwelled in what later became the Ontario, Canada region.

Jean-Francois De la Perouse (1741-1788)

Not only was Jean-François de Galoup, Comte de La Pérouse an explorer for France, but he also held the position of a naval officer. In 1786, La Perouse was successful in mapping the west coast of North America. He also paid a visit to the Easter Islands and the Sandwich Islands (which is now known as Hawaii). Following his travels to Botany Bay in Australia, La Perouse became lost at sea while he was seeking out the Solomon Islands.

Nicholas Baudin  (1754-1803)

Exploring a great deal of the coastline of Australia (which includes the Geographe Bay, Guichen Bay and Shark Bay), Baudin was a French naval officer who mapped the island of Tasmania. His ship was called “La Geographe,” which translated into geography in French. He also accomplished many different explorations in the name of science that involved various regions about the Southern Hemisphere, including the island of Timor. Baudin was responsible for mapping numerous coastlines, collecting specimens for scientific purposes, and creating drawing of the different places that he came across. While he ventured back home from the island of Mauritius in 1803, he died before he reached his home in France.

Antoine de Cadillac (1658 , 1730)

The French explorer, soldier, and overall leader named Antonie Laumet de La Mothe de Cadillac is known as the founder of the city of Detroit in 1701. In later years, he became the governor of the Louisiana Territory , a position that lasted from 1710 to around 1716 or 1717.

Jean-Baptiste-Point Du Sable (1750? -1818)

This Haitian-French pioneer and trader became the founder of the settlement that later evolved into the city of Chicago.

Pierre Esprit Radisson  (1636-1710)

In 1651, the French explorer and fur trader, Pierre Esprit Radisson settled in Canada, becoming the first European explorer (along with his brother-in-law, Médard Chouart de Groseillier) to set eyes on what would later become Minnesota. In 1670, Radisson played an important role in establishing an English fur trading monopoly called Hudson’s Bay Company. The explorer is also known for traveling to Hudson Bay in 1668 and 1670. We know of his exploits because he wrote about them, especially when he was trekking through the North American wilderness and surviving being captured by Iroquois Indians.