Robert de la salle route of exploration
La Salle and the Discovery of the Great West by Francis ParkmanRene-Robert Cavelier de La Salle (1643-1687), one of the most legendary explorers of the New World, is best known for claiming the entire Louisiana Territory for France in 1682. Two years later, he was given the order to colonize and govern the great expanse of territory between Lake Michigan and the Gulf of Mexico. He set out from France with four ships but never reached his destination. Landing somewhere in East Texas, he and his men were ravaged by disease, weakened by hard labor, even gored by buffalo as they tried to locate the mouth of the Mississippi River, which was obscured by the sandy sameness of the Gulf coastline. In 1687, on a third attempt to locate the river by an overland route, La Salle was murdered by his own men in the desolate country between the Trinity and Brazos rivers. His body was never found.
First published in 1869, La Salle and the Discovery of the Great West is the vivid, richly detailed story of that final grim expedition, told by Americas foremost historian.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
The La Salle Disaster
Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox Sign me up! Cavelier was a wealthy wholesale merchant and "Master of the Brotherhood of Notre-Dame. La Salle, educated at the Jesuit College in Rouen, later entered the Society of Jesus as a novice, an act requiring him to give up his inheritance.
Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle
He belonged to a wealthy middle-class family. At the age of fifteen, he was enrolled in the Jesuit noviciate of Rouen, and he took his vows in Five years later he asked to be sent abroad as a missionary. On the twenty-seventh of March, , he found himself a free man. La Salle arrived in New France in with no trade and no money.
The China Obsession
When La Salle was 15, he gave up his inheritance to become a Jesuit priest. With no craft and no funds, La Salle was nearly destitute when he landed on the island of Montreal in
La Salle was educated at a Jesuit college. He first studied for the priesthood, but at the age of 22 he found himself more attracted to adventure and exploration and in set out for Canada to seek his fortune. The young landlord farmed his land near the Lachine Rapids and, at the same time, set up a fur-trading outpost. Through contact with the Indians who came to sell their pelts, he learned various Indian dialects and heard stories of the lands beyond the settlements. He soon became obsessed with the idea of finding a way to the Orient through the rivers and lakes of the Western frontier. If experience modified the visions of the dreamer, it enhanced the knowledge and skill of the pathfinder and trader.
He is best known for an early expedition in which he canoed the lower Mississippi River from the mouth of the Illinois River to the Gulf of Mexico and claimed the entire Mississippi River basin for France. La Salle is often credited with being the first European to traverse the Ohio River, and sometimes the Mississippi as well. Sieur de La Salle is a French title roughly translating to "Lord of the manor," from the old French sal e modern salle , "hall," a manor house. Sieur is a French title of nobility, similar to the English "Sir," but under the French Signeurial system, the title is purchased rather than earned, and does not imply military duty. Robert Cavelier's received the title with his Signeurial purchase of Lachine from the Sulpician order at Ville Marie around However, the phrase La Salle has become iconic, and associated with the person as if it were his name; he is therefore often called Robert La Salle, or simply "La Salle.
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