Sieur de La Salle – French explorer
Sieur de La Salle was a French explorer of North America and colonizer, the first European to sail the Mississippi River and declared it ownership of the French king, under the name of Louisiana. Thanks to his tireless activity France acquired (at least on paper) a vast territory. Several cities and districts in the United States, administrative region of Montreal, the Royal Military Academy in Canada and the brand of cars made from 1927 to 1940 by General Motors were named in honor of La Salle.
Rene-Robert Cavelier de La Salle was born on November 22, 1643 in Rouen, France.
Rene-Robert Cavelier received education at the Jesuit college. At the age of 22 he went to New France where he was granted a plot of land on the island of Montreal. In addition to farming, Cavelier traded for furs. Native Americans told him of a broad river that ran from the Great Lakes region to the sea. This was the Mississippi.
In 1669 a Frenchman sold his land and moved to the side of the Ohio River.
In 1673 he helped to build Fort Frontenac on Lake Ontario.
In 1677, he went to a meeting with Sun King and got permission for the development of “western limits of New France”. King Louis XIV gave him the title of Sieur de La Salle, which means Sir La Salle. Over the next 2 years he traveled about the basin of the Great Lakes.
In 1682 La Salle reached the Mississippi from the Illinois River. He became the first European to travel down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico. He claimed for France all the land that was drained by the river. He named it Louisiana after his king.
La Salle was murdered on March 19, 1687 in Texas.
La Salle is remembered as the discoverer of the mouth of the Mississippi River and the leader of the ill-fated colonization scheme. His passionate pursuit of fame and glory render him one of the most perplexing of the explorers of the interior of North America.