La Vérendrye, Pierre Gaultier de Varennes et de

born Nov. 17, 1685, Trois-Rivières, New France
died Dec. 5, 1749, Montreal

French-Canadian explorer.

He served in the French army before becoming a fur trader in the region north of Lake Superior (1726). From the Indians he learned of a river that might lead to the Pacific Ocean, and with his sons he built a string of fur-trading posts from Ontario to Manitoba (1731–38). Two sons sent farther west became the first Europeans to explore areas of present-day Nebraska, Montana, and Wyoming, and they claimed South Dakota for France. The 30,000 beaver pelts La Vérendrye annually sent to Quebec broke the monopoly of the Hudson's Bay Co. Little appreciated in his lifetime, he was later considered one of the greatest explorers of the Canadian West.

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Universalium. 2010.

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