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4th December, 1674 Marquette founded the first European settlement

Jacques Marquette (June 10, 1637 - May 18, 1675), also known as James Marquette - French Jesuit, a pioneer and explorer of North America, as well as the founder of a number of missionary posts in the United States and Canada, which later transformed in modern cities of Chicago and Sault Ste Marie.

Jacques Marquette was born June 1, 1637 in Laon, and at seventeen entered the Jesuits. After several years of work and study in France, in 1666 he was sent as a missionary in New France for the conversion of the Indian population. Jacques showed great progress in the study of local dialects, especially Huron.

In 1668, at direction of the authorities Marquette went down the St. Lawrence River in the western Great Lakes. He helped to create missions in Salt Saint Marie (in today Michigan), La Puente on Lake Superior near the present city of Ashland and helped father Claude Dablonu to establish office in Sault Ste-Marie on the northern shore of the Great Lakes. In La Puente Illinois Indians reported Jesuit about the existence of an important trade route along the Mississippi River. They invited Jacques to educate their fellow tribesmen living mainly in the south. Because of the war between the Hurons La Puente and neighboring Lakota nations, he had to leave the mission and go to the Straits of Mackinac. He also conveyed his superiors information on the river, asking permission to study.

In 1673, having received approval from the Jesuit Marquette joined the expedition of French Canadian pioneer Louis Jolliet. Sailed off on May 17 from St. Ignace with five meticami and two canoes, they passed through Lake Michigan to Green Bay and up the river to its origins Fox. From there, they carried their boats for two kilometers through the marshes to the Wisconsin River. Many years later at this place appeared a city of Wisconsin. On 17th of June travelers reached the Mississippi River.

On the 4th of December, 1674 during wintering at the southwestern tip of Lake Michigan Jacques Missionary founded a small post on the site which eventually grew in the US city of Chicago, its name comes from the word "shikaakva" in the language of the Illinois Indians means "wild onion". The status of the city Chicago obtained only after 163 years after its foundation - in 1837.

In the spring of 1675 Marquette had a mass in the Grand Village near the present Starved Rock State Park. But dysentery, which he contracted during the study of Mississippi undermined his health and on his return to St. Ignace he died.

Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette went on a canoe over 4000 km along the rivers and lakes of the so-called Mid-West. Thus, French first established that the rivers that originate in the west of the Great Lakes, as well as the Mississippi River, do not fall into the Pacific Ocean, but in the Gulf of Mexico of the Atlantic Ocean.

This Day in History 04-12-2014