Detroit History Timeline
to 1701

1535Jacques Cartier discovers the St. Lawrence River and sails up it to what is now Montreal, claiming Canada for France.
1600First certain record of inhabitants in the Detroit area.
1608a) Samuel de Champlain founds Quebec. French and Hurons, who have been at war with Iroquois, develop peaceful relationship. Iroquois thus develop a hatred for the French settlers.
1608b) Samuel de Champlain is named governor of New France (Montreal). Settlement begins.
1610Samuel de Champlain is believed by some to have been in the Detroit area. If true, he is the first known non-Native American to see the site of Detroit.
1615French missionaries establish the Huron Mission at Georgian Bay.
1618Jean Nicolet is sent from Canada to the Straits of Mackinac where he is believed to be the first European to visit what is now Michigan.
1622
1625 - 1626
1627Cardinal Richelieu reorganizes Canada making it closed to all but Catholics.
1634Jean Nicolet, looking for a water route to the Pacific, lands in what is now Green Bay in Lake Michigan.
1649Huron Mission at Georgian Bay is attacked by Iroquois. Mission is abandoned.
165803-05-1658
Antoine Laumet (Cadillac) is born in St. Nicholas de la Grave, in the Department of Tarn and Garonne, France.
1665
1668Father Jacques Marquette founds Sault Ste. Marie. It is considered the first permanent settlement in present day Michigan.
166909-01-1669
September - Adrien Joliet (French explorer) is said to have been the first white (non-Native) man to have seen the area now known as Detroit. He is led by an Iroquois prisoner from Sault Ste. Marie. They travel Lake Huron, the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River to Lake Erie. They run into LaSalle
1670(Year was not 1670 -- but in the 1670's) Louis de Buade, Comte de Frontenac, is made Governor of New France
167003-01-1670
Fathers Dollier and Galinee enter Detroit River after wintering in present day Port Dover, Ontario. They are said to have found a rock formation shaped like a human figure near the mouth of the Rouge River. It had been decorated and made an idol by the Native Americans. The priests were so offended, they destroyed the landmark with their hatchets and dumped the pieces out in the river before continuing on to Sault Ste. Marie, Montreal and Quebec.
1671Father Jacques Marquette founds Mission of Point St. Ignace on the northern shore of the Straits of Mackinac.
167106-04-1671
Simon Daumont, Sieur de St. Lusson represents the French King at a celebration marking 'formal' French possession of the territory adjoining the Great Lakes and all the land extending west and south to the oceans. 2,000 Native Americans are present. Father Allouez speaks at the ceremony.
167305-13-1673
Louis Joliet (brother of Adrien) and Father Jacques Marquette are sent by the French government to explore the Mississippi River. (Some sources say date was 5/29/1673)
167306-17-1673
Joliet and Marquette discover the mouth of the Mississippi.
1674Robert Cavalier, Sieur de La Salle is given command of Fort Frontenac.
167805-12-1678
La Salle is given permission by King Louis to continue the explorations of Joliet and Marquette.
1679LaSalle
1679LaSalle builds Fort Miami at the mouth of the St. Joseph River. He also builds Fort Creve Coeur near present day La Salle, Illinois.
1679Robert Cavalier, Sieur de LaSalle
167908-10-1679
Friar Louis Hennepin (Recollet) sees Detroit. Reports evidence that Jesuit missionaries and coureurs-de-bois have been there. The party is led by Robert Cavalier Sieur de La Salle. Together, they give Lake Ste. Claire (St. Clair) its name. As travel in the area increases, the area becomes known as le Detroit (the strait).
167908-10-1679
La Salle and his crew sail the Griffon to the Detroit River (at or near the future site of Detroit) and pick up his lieutenant, Henry de Tony, who was sent ahead to find another party. One of La Salle's travel companions, Father Louis Hennepin, names Lake St. Clair (St. Clairs feast day is August 11).
1682Frontenac is recalled to France because of problematic relations with Jesuits and other missionaries regarding trade practices with Natives. (Woodford) La Barre takes his place. (Burton)
1682LaSalle builds Fort St. Louis at present day Starved Rock in Illinois
1684 - 1698Spring - Frontenac is once again Governor of New France.
1686Daniel Greysolon, Sieur Duluth builds Fort St. Joseph (present day Port Huron) at the head of the St. Clair river to try to keep the British out of the upper lakes
1687La Salle is killed by members of his own crew
1688Fort St. Joseph is abandoned
1689Cadillac is called to France to help the court in planning a sea attack against New England.
1689Frontenac is sent back to New France.
1689 - 1697Iroquois war
1690Fort de Buade is built at Michilimackinac (St. Ignace?). It is the most important settlement in the west. The Commandant there supervises all other French settlements. The superior of the western missions is headquartered nearby at the Mission of St. Ignace.
1691A second Fort St. Joseph is built 25 miles up the St. Joseph river from Fort Miami (in present day Niles).
1694 - 1698Cadillac is given command of Fort de Buade (some sources say Michilimackinac) and thus command of all posts in the west.
1696Louis XIV commands all non-Jesuit French to leave the upper regions after reports that they are
1698Cadillac goes to court of Louis XIV and proposes to make Detroit the main trading post in the area.
1698Forts de Buade and St. Joseph are abandoned
1698Frontenac dies. Chevalier Hector de Callieres becomes Governor of New France.
1700Cadillac writes a letter to the French court detailing his plans for a new settlement (Detroit).
1701(August) The Treaty of Montreal is signed ending the war with the Iroquois.
170103-08-1701
Cadillac returns to Quebec from France having gotten the King's permission to establish a settlement in the Detroit area. The grant hasn't been made formal yet.
170103-10-1701
Quebec - Governor of New France (Hector Louis de Callieres) meets with Antoine Laumet de la Mothe Cadillac, Sieur de Douaguet and Mont Desert; Alphonse de Tonty; and others to celebrate the granting of commission of Commandant of 15 square acres of his choice along the Detroit River to Cadillac by Count Ponchartrain, the Minister of Marine under Louis XIV.
170106-04-1701
Cadillac sets sail from Montreal to found a new settlement in the lower region. He takes with him 25 canoes, 2 priests, 50 soldiers, 50 coureurs de bois, 100 Native Americans, and his 2nd in command, Alphonse di Tonty.
170107-23-1701
Cadillac and party reach the Detroit River. They spend the night on Grosse Ile
170107-24-1701
Cadillac
170110-07-1701
A crop of winter wheat is sown, placing Fort Ponchartrain (Detroit) on its way to self-sufficiency. It is the first wheat ever to be sown in present day Michigan.
170110-31-1701
King Louis XIV signs a contract giving Fort Ponchartrain and Frontenac operations to the Company of the Colony of Canada.
170109-01-2001
September (the exact date is uncertain) - Madame Marie Therese Guyon Cadillac and Marianne de Tonty leave Quebec and set out for Fort Ponchartrain du Detroit. They are the first non-Native American women to visit and live in the fort. Woodford says the women arrived in Detroit at this time.
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Glossary:
Algonquin

General term used to describe Native Americans of the following tribes (and others): Delaware, Fox, Huron, Miami, Ojibwa (Chippewa), Ottawa, Potawatomi, Sac, Shawnee and Winnebago.
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Glossary:
arquebus

A 39 pound (approximate) musket that two men would prop on a tri-pod and fire with a small torch. The arquebus was used by Champlain's men against the Iroquois to defend the Hurons. This may be the cause of decades of Iroquois abuse of the Hurons.
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Glossary:
clay and wattle

Building technique used in the construction of chimneys in the early days of Fort Ponchartrain. The technique involved piling sticks and packing them - inside and out - with clay and mud.
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Glossary:
Colbertism

Name for early French mercantilism in America, which Jean-Baptiste Colbert was influential in developing.
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Glossary:
conges

Trade permits issued by the Canadian government/court of France in the late 1600s to early 1700s.
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Glossary:
coureurs de bois

Very early French inhabitants of the current US and Canada who gave up their farmsteads for lives in the fur trade. They often lived with Native Americans.
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Glossary:
District of Hesse

Land district provisioned by the Canadian Council on July 24, 1788. The area was on the east side of the Detroit River.
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Glossary:
Fox

"Properly ""Mesh-kwa-ki-hug"". Native American tribe living in the area between Saginaw Bay and Thunder Bay at the time Detroit was founded. The French called the tribe Renyard. An allied tribe of the Sacs and Mascoutin."
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Glossary:
Huron

A Native American tribe that built a village near Fort Ponchartrain.
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Glossary:
Iroquoian

General term sometimes used to describe Native Americans of the following tribes: Cayuga, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, and Seneca.
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Glossary:
Iroquois

"A Native American tribe known for antagonizing and brutalizing the Hurons (see also arquebus)"
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Glossary:
Mascouten

Native American tribe living in the Grand Traverse Bay area at the time Detroit was founded. An allied tribe of the Foxes and Sacs. Also spelled Mascoutin.
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Glossary:
Miami

A Native American tribe that built a village near Fort Ponchartrain.
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Glossary:
Muskhogean

General term used to describe Native Americans of the following tribes: Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creek.
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Glossary:
New York Currency

First standard currency used in Detroit (first used in 1765).
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Glossary:
Ottawa

A Native American tribe that built a village near Fort Ponchartrain.
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Glossary:
Outagamies

Native American tribe living in the Grand Traverse Bay area at the time Detroit was founded. An allied tribe of the Foxes (and Sacs?).
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Glossary:
Plains Indians

General term used to describe Native Americans of the following tribes: Apache, Arapaho, Cheyenne, Comanche, Kiowa, and Pawnee (Pani).
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Glossary:
Potawatomi

A Native American tribe that built a village near Fort Ponchartrain.
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Glossary:
Quebec Act

Act of June 22, 1774, in which British Parliament decides to exercise English law in criminal cases and old French provincial law in civil cases in western settlements. The idea was to discourage people from settling in the west.
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Glossary:
Renyard

See Fox
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Glossary:
ribbon farms

Original land grants given by Cadillac. The lots were typically around 200 feet wide at the river front, with lengths up to 3 miles.
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Glossary:
Sac

See Sauk
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Glossary:
Sakis

See Sauk
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Glossary:
Sauk

Native American tribe living in the area between Saginaw Bay and Thunder Bay at the time Detroit was founded. The French called the tribe Sakis; English and Americans generally call them Sacs. An allied tribe of the Foxes/Renyards and Mascouten.
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Glossary:
Shoshonean

General term used to describe Native Americans of the following tribes: Bannock and Shoshone.
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Glossary:
Treaty of Montreal

Treaty ending the war between the Iroquois and France and England. Negotiations began in July of 1698 and the treaty was signed in August of 1701.
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Glossary:
Treaty of Ryswick

September 20, 1697 treaty ending war between France and England.
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Glossary:
voyageurs

Early French explorers who traveled mainly by water.