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1682

La Salle claims Louisiana for France
The Historic New Orleans Collection
At the mouth of the Mississippi River, Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, claimed Louisiana for France on April 9, 1682.
[News] April 9: Following a journey down the Mississippi River from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, claims the entire Mississippi River watershed for France and names it Louisiana in honor of King Louis XIV. Born in Rouen, France, in 1643, La Salle had gone to Montreal in 1666 and opened a trading post. After receiving an official commission to explore the Mississippi River, he began preparing for the journey in 1679. He began the journey in 1680, but returned in 1681 for supplies. Finally, he set out again in February 1682. Knowing his land claim was not easily enforceable, he developed plans for a fort at the mouth of the Mississippi River that would control access into the interior. Among those accompanying La Salle on his expedition down river is Henry de Tonty, who would later describe their journey in his memoirs.
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