Who provided sponsorship for Robert de la Salle?

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By Christine Hitt

Robert de la Salle

Robert de la Salle was a French explorer who played a significant role in the exploration of North America in the late 17th century. La Salle was born in Rouen, France, in 1643, and received a good education as a Jesuit student. He arrived in Canada in 1666, where he worked as a fur trader with the Jesuit missions. La Salle was ambitious and had a vision to explore the unknown lands of the Mississippi River.

La Salle’s ambition and plans

La Salle’s ambition was to explore the Mississippi River and find a route to the Gulf of Mexico. He believed that the river would lead him to an independent trade route, which would bypass the English and Dutch trading monopolies. La Salle’s plan was to establish French settlements in the Mississippi Valley and trade with Native Americans for furs. He also hoped to convert the Native Americans to Christianity. La Salle believed that the French could control trade in North America and establish a new French empire.

Early voyage to America

La Salle’s first voyage to North America was in 1666, where he worked with the Jesuit missions as a fur trader. He traveled to what is now Michigan and established a trading post. La Salle learned the Algonquin language and became familiar with Native American customs. He spent several years in the Great Lakes region, learning about the geography and the people.

La Salle’s encounter with Henri de Tonti

On La Salle’s second voyage to North America in 1678, he met Henri de Tonti, an Italian soldier who had lost a hand fighting in the war. Tonti became La Salle’s trusted lieutenant and helped him in his explorations. They traveled together to the Illinois River and built a fort, which they named Fort Crevecoeur. However, the fort was destroyed, and their supplies were stolen by angry Native Americans.

Louis XIV and La Salle’s first sponsorship

La Salle’s first sponsorship came from King Louis XIV of France, who was interested in establishing a French colony in North America. In 1678, Louis XIV granted La Salle permission to explore the Mississippi River and establish French settlements. La Salle was given four ships and 280 men to begin his expedition.

The role of the Compagnie de la France équinoxiale

La Salle’s expedition was also supported by the Compagnie de la France équinoxiale, a trading company that had been formed in 1664 to establish French colonies in South America. The company provided La Salle with financial support and supplies for his expedition.

La Salle’s second sponsorship

La Salle’s second sponsorship came from the French government, who were interested in expanding their empire in North America. In 1683, La Salle was granted permission to establish a colony at the mouth of the Mississippi River. He was given four ships and 300 men to begin his expedition.

La Salle’s relationship with Frontenac

La Salle had a close relationship with the Governor of New France, Louis de Buade de Frontenac. Frontenac provided La Salle with support and supplies for his expeditions. However, their relationship soured over time, and they became rivals.

La Salle’s third sponsorship

La Salle’s third sponsorship came from a group of merchants from Rouen, France. They provided La Salle with financial support for his Mississippi expedition and promised to buy furs from the Native Americans.

The Mississippi Expedition

In 1682, La Salle led an expedition down the Mississippi River, which he named Louisiana, in honor of King Louis XIV. He claimed the entire Mississippi River for France and established several trading posts. La Salle also explored the Gulf of Mexico and Texas.

Outcome of La Salle’s expeditions

La Salle’s expeditions had mixed results. Although he claimed a vast territory for France, he failed to establish permanent French colonies in North America. La Salle’s settlements were plagued by disease, conflict with Native Americans, and lack of supplies. In 1687, La Salle was by his own men, who had become mutinous.

Legacy of La Salle’s sponsorships

La Salle’s sponsorships were instrumental in his expeditions. Without the financial support and supplies, La Salle would not have been able to explore the Mississippi River and claim it for France. La Salle’s expeditions paved the way for French colonization of North America, which lasted until the French and Indian War in 1754. La Salle’s legacy includes the exploration of the Mississippi River and the establishment of French claims in North America.

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Christine Hitt

Christine Hitt, a devoted Hawaii enthusiast from Oahu, has spent 15 years exploring the islands, sharing her deep insights in respected publications such as Los Angeles Times, SFGate, Honolulu, and Hawaii magazines. Her expertise spans cultural nuances, travel advice, and the latest updates, making her an invaluable resource for all Hawaii lovers.

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