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La Salle, Robert Cavelier, sieur de

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Definition: La Salle, René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle from

The Hutchinson Encyclopedia

Profile of the adventurous life of the French fur trader, adventurer, and explorer. It describes how la Salle abandoned early ambitions for the priesthood in order to try to expand French influence in North America from Montreal to Louisiana, an ambition which led to his violent death.


la Salle, René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de

Summary Article: LA SALLE, RENÉ-ROBERT CAVELIER DE SIEUR (1643-1687) from France and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History
La Salle explored many areas of North America, including the Ohio, Illinois, and Mississippi rivers, claiming for France the lands that he named Louisiana.Born in Rouen in November 1643, René-Robert de La Salle was the son of a wealthy merchant. He was educated at a Jesuit College in Rouen and later entered the Society of Jesus, but soon realized he was cut out not for a religious life but for one that was filled with adventure. In 1666, La Salle sailed for Canada, where he was granted lands near the La Chine rapids, above Montreal. Full of ambition, La Salle established a fortified village, acquired a substantial interest in the fur trade, and started to learn the local indigenous languages. He dreamed of finding a passage to the East and the riches of the mythical city of Cathay. Conversations with the indigenous people led La Salle to hear about the mighty rivers in the area, and keen to explore the region, he sold his holdings in 1669 and set off on his first voyage, which led t...    Continue Reading

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