Jolliet, Louis

born before Sept. 21, 1645, probably Beaupré, near Quebec
died after May 1700, Quebec province

French Canadian explorer and cartographer.

He led an expedition in the Great Lakes region in 1669. In 1672 he was commissioned by the governor of New France to explore the Mississippi in the company of Jacques Marquette and five others. In 1673 the party set out in birchbark canoes across Lake Michigan, following the Fox and Wisconsin rivers to the Mississippi, then down the Mississippi to its confluence with the Arkansas. They concluded that the river flowed south to the Gulf of Mexico and not, as hoped, into the Pacific Ocean. After their return, Jolliet explored areas of Hudson Bay and the Labrador coast.

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▪ French-Canadian explorer
Jolliet also spelled  Joliet 
born , before Sept. 21, 1645, probably Beaupré, near Quebec
died , after May 1700, Quebec province

      French-Canadian explorer and cartographer who, with Father Jacques Marquette (Marquette, Jacques), was the first white man to traverse the Mississippi River from its confluence with the Wisconsin to the mouth of the Arkansas River in Arkansas.

      Jolliet received a Jesuit education in New France (now in Canada) but left his seminary in 1667 and went to France. The following year he returned to New France to work in the fur trade. In 1672 he was commissioned by the governor of New France to explore the Mississippi, and he was joined by Marquette. On May 17, 1673, the party set out in two birchbark canoes from Michilimackinac (St. Ignace, Mich.) for Green Bay, on Lake Michigan. Continuing up the Fox River in central Wisconsin and down the Wisconsin, they entered the Mississippi about a month later. Pausing along the way to make notes, to hunt, and to glean scraps of information from Indians, they arrived in July at the Quapaw Indian village (40 miles north of present Arkansas City, Ark.) at the mouth of the Arkansas River. From personal observations and from the friendly Quapaw Indians, they concluded that the Mississippi flowed south into the Gulf of Mexico—not, as they had hoped, into the Pacific Ocean.

      In July the party returned homeward via the Illinois River and Green Bay. Their journey is described in Marquette's journal, which has survived.

      Jolliet later travelled to Hudson Bay, the Labrador coast, and a number of Canadian rivers. In 1697 he was made royal hydrographer of New France.

Additional Reading
Francis Borgia Steck, The Jolliet-Marquette Expedition, 1673 (1928).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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