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The New Student's Reference Work/Joliet, Louis


Joliet (zhṓ-lyā́′), Louis, one of the early explorers of the Mississippi, was born at Quebec in 1645.  He studied at the Jesuit allege, Quebec, intending to become a priest.  He, however, abandoned this intention, and spent some years as an Indian trader, thus getting a knowledge of the languages and geography of the west.  With Marquette he was selected to explore the western country and push through to the Mississippi.  They started in May, 1673, reaching the Mississippi at the mouth of the Wisconsin in June.  They floated down the Mississippi, passing the mouths of the Missouri and the Ohio, and going far enough to be sure that the river flowed into the Gulf of Mexico.  Joliet upset his canoe on his way back, losing all his maps and papers, so that the only accurate report of the expedition was Marquette’s.  Joliet was given the seigniory of Anticosti Island in 1680 and, later, that of Joliette.  Few men have contributed more to the geography of that time than did Joliet.  He died in 1700.  See Parkman’s La Salle and the Discovery of the Great West.