How Long Did Jacques Marquette Sail For?

Have you ever wondered how long Jacques Marquette sailed for? Jacques Marquette was a French Jesuit missionary who explored the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River in the 17th century. His journey was not only significant in terms of exploration but also played a crucial role in expanding European knowledge of North America.

The Beginning of the Journey

Jacques Marquette embarked on his famous journey in 1673, along with Louis Joliet, a French-Canadian explorer. The primary objective of their expedition was to search for a passage to the Pacific Ocean and to spread Christianity among the Native American tribes they encountered.

The Route

Marquette and Joliet began their journey from St. Ignace, a French mission located near present-day Mackinac Island, Michigan. They traveled by canoe and followed Lake Michigan’s eastern shore until they reached Green Bay, Wisconsin.

From Green Bay, they entered the Fox River and made their way towards the Wisconsin River. Navigating through various rapids, marshes, and dense forests, they finally reached the Mississippi River on June 17th, 1673.

The Exploration of the Mississippi River

Once Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet reached the Mississippi River, they turned southward in hopes of reaching the Gulf of Mexico. They continued their journey down the river, charting previously unexplored territory.

  • June 25th: On this day, Marquette and Joliet encountered their first encounter with Native American tribes – the Illinois Confederation. They were greeted hospitably by Chief Peoria.
  • July 17th: The explorers arrived at a confluence where another major river merged with the Mississippi. This river was later named the Missouri River, and it added to their knowledge of the vast river system.
  • July 17th – 25th: As they continued down the Mississippi, Marquette and Joliet noticed changes in the landscape, vegetation, and encountered different Native American tribes.
  • July 25th: Due to rumors of hostile tribes further south and concerns about their personal safety, Marquette and Joliet decided to turn back near present-day Arkansas.

The Journey Back

After reaching their southernmost point, Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet retraced their steps back up the Mississippi River. They followed a different route on their return journey by taking the Illinois River instead of the Wisconsin River.

Their return journey was equally challenging due to adverse weather conditions and navigating through unfamiliar territories. However, they successfully made it back to Green Bay in September 1673.

The Legacy

Jacques Marquette’s expedition significantly contributed to European understanding of the geography of North America. His detailed journals provided valuable information about the Native American tribes encountered during his journey.

Marquette’s exploration of the Mississippi River opened up new opportunities for trade and settlement in North America. His reports inspired further expeditions westward by other explorers, ultimately leading to the establishment of French colonies in Louisiana.

In conclusion, Jacques Marquette sailed for several months during his expedition along Lake Michigan, through Green Bay, down the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers, eventually reaching the Mississippi River. Although he did not complete his original objective of reaching the Pacific Ocean, his journey was a significant milestone in European exploration of North America.

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Emma Gibson