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The French explorer – René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, was born in Rouen, Normandy, France on November 22, 1643. He was born into a wealthy merchant family and was raised as a Jesuit Priest. However, he gave up his priesthood at the age of 15, and by the age of 22, he was attracted to adventure and exploration. So he asked to join his brother, Jean, who was sent abroad on a missionary in New France, modernly known as Canada. When he landed on Montreal in 1667 he was lacking the means to provide for himself.
La Salle was a priest for The Seminary of St. Sulpice for a year, before asking to be released from the Jesuit society. La Salle built a settlement, after The Seminary of St. Sulpice, said that they would promise land for settlers who would give them protection against the Iroquois. He made relations with the natives known as the Mohawks, who talked about a great river named Ohio that flowed into the Mississippi and out of the sea. La Salle quickly became obsessed of finding this river. He shared this obsession with the New France Governor Daniel Courcell, the Count of Frontenac. Together they wanted to extend the French military power across the French Lakes.
So René-Robert, sold his settlement and traveled to France in 1673, to get permission from King Louis XIV of France to explore the area between Florida, Mexico and New France. La Salle started controlling a big part in the fur trade, however he was in debt to a lot of different people. Nonetheless, in 1678 he built “Le Griffon” a sailing vessel to go through the 3 great lakes: Lake Erie, Lake Houston and Lake Michigan and down through the Mississippi, but Le Griffon was wrecked, right off the Illinois River, where another ship was built in 1680.
But La Salle was way to hard and strict upon others, and was not any less harsh on himself. When he reached the junction between the Illinois and the Mississippi river- the river he has dreamed so long about, he heard that his partner, Tonty and the rest of the crew were in danger, so he turned the book around and denied himself the chance to explore the Mississippi.
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