René-Robert Cavelier de La Salle

The French explorer René-Robert Cavelier de La Salle was born in Rouen, Normandie, on November 21, 1643. He entered the Jesuits novitiate in 1658 and, two years later, pronounced his vows.

In France, he taught in Alencon, Tours, and Blois. In 1667, he left the Jesuits and set out for New France. Upon his arrival, his elder brother Jean, a priest, helped him to acquire a land in the southwest part of Montreal, at the time called Cote Saint-Sulpice, where Indians and Europeans used to exchange goods.

At the beginning of July 1669, La Salle led an expedition in search of the way to China, but, having only reached the Lake Ontario, returned to Montreal. To finance his expedition he had to sell his estates, but after his failure, people baptized the land as Lachine, by derision.

In the beginning of 1670s, La Salle explored of the area of the Great Lakes. In 1975, he was granted letters of nobility. Nevertheless, he continued exploring the continent and, in 1682, he took possession of the vast lands of Mississippi naming them Louisiana in honor of Louis XIV, King of France.

On March 19, 1687, during an exploration trip to the Louisiana, Robert Cavalier de La Salle died in a skirmish: he was possibly murdered by one of his men after a violent discussion.

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