Marquette, Jacques

Marquette, Jacques
known as Père Marquette

born June 1, 1637, Laon, France
died May 18, 1675, Ludington, Mich.

French missionary and explorer.

Ordained a Jesuit priest, he arrived in Quebec in 1666 to preach among the Ottawa. He helped found missions at Sault Ste. Marie in 1668 and St. Ignace in 1671 (both now in Michigan). In 1673 he accompanied Louis Jolliet on his exploration of the Mississippi River, traveling south to the mouth of the Arkansas River. They returned via the Illinois River to Green Bay on Lake Michigan, where Marquette remained. In 1674 he set out to found a mission among the Illinois Indians, reaching the site of present-day Chicago. His journal of his voyage with Jolliet was published in 1681.

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▪ Jesuit explorer
byname  Père (Father) Marquette 
born June 1, 1637, Laon, Fr.
died May 18, 1675, Ludington, Mich.

      French Jesuit missionary explorer who, with Louis Jolliet (Jolliet, Louis), travelled down the Mississippi River and reported the first accurate data on its course.

      Marquette arrived in Quebec in 1666. After a study of Indian languages, he assisted in founding a mission at Sault Ste. Marie (now in Michigan) in 1668, and another at St. Ignace (now in Michigan) in 1671. In mid-May 1673 he left St. Ignace with Jolliet, who had been commissioned by Louis, comte de Frontenac, governor of New France, to find the direction and the mouth of the Mississippi. They travelled westward to Green Bay (now in Wisconsin), ascended the Fox River to a portage that crossed to the Wisconsin River, and entered the Mississippi near Prairie du Chien on June 17. Following it to the mouth of the Arkansas River, they learned that the Mississippi flowed through hostile Spanish domains, and in mid-July they turned homeward by way of the Illinois River. Marquette was exhausted when he reached Green Bay, and he remained there while Jolliet continued on to Canada.

      In 1674 Marquette set out to found a mission among the Illinois Indians, but, caught by the winter, he and two companions camped near the site of the city of Chicago, and thus became the first Europeans to live there. Marquette reached the Indians (near what is now Utica, Ill.) in the spring, but illness forced his return. While en route to St. Ignace he died at the mouth of a river now known as Père Marquette.

Additional Reading
Raphael N. Hamilton, Marquette's Explorations: The Narratives Reexamined (1970).

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Universalium. 2010.

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