People of Detroit:
Robert Cavalier, Sieur de La Salle
In 1674, Robert Cavalier, Sieur de La Salle was given command of Fort Frontenac (located at present site of City of Kingston, Ontario).
On May 12, 1678, La Salle was given King Louis' permission to continue the explorations of Louis Joliet and Father Marquette. Specifically, he was to descend the Mississippi River and find a port on the Gulf of Mexico. His party included the Sulpitian priests, Father François Dollier de Casson and Father René Brehant de Galineé.
In 1679, near Black Rock (near Niagara) La Salle built a ship called the Griffon. On August 10, La Salle sailed the Griffon through the Detroit River, possibly to the future site of Detroit, to pick up his Lieutenant, Henri de Tonty. There he reported seeing a Huron village and evidence of previous visits by Jesuits and coureurs de bois. The Griffon is the first known ship to sail the Detroit River.
In September 1679, the Griffon (without La Salle) and her crew were lost in Lake Michigan after encountering a storm.
Upon hearing the news of his ship and crew, La Salle abandoned his expedition. He built a small fort near present day La Salle, Illinois, and named it Fort Crevecoeur (broken heart). He left some of his men at the fort, including Father Hennepin and returned to Niagara, arriving on May 1, 1680.
In December of 1681, La Salle set out with Henri de Tonty and others, once again in search of the mouth of the Mississippi. On April 8, 1682, La Salle succeeded in his goal and claimed all the land along the east of the Mississippi for France. The area became known as Louisiana.
In 1687, La Salle was killed by a member of his own crew.
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