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Exploration of the Mississippi - Essay Example

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Summary
It chose the Mississippi since the river travels through all of the states in the U.S. This makes it the easiest way to travel from one state to another.
The first Europeans to enter the Mississippi territory were…
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Exploration of the Mississippi
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Exploration of the Mississippi This paper will research on the exploration of the Mississippi. It chose the Mississippi since the river travels through all of the states in the U.S. This makes it the easiest way to travel from one state to another.
The first Europeans to enter the Mississippi territory were the Spaniards (Geoghegan 1). Hernando De Soto, a Spanish explorer, led his team of explorers westward across northern Mississippi in the early 1540s. Most of De Sotos team of explorers was killed due to a raid from the Chickasaws in the Pontotoc Battle of 1541. Due to his trek through the wilderness, the Native Americans who inhabited the area were devastated with illness. This made their population drop hugely after the Spaniards visit (Geoghegan 1).
In 1564, the ruler of Spain got news that French colonists had started a settlement at Fort Caroline. Fort Caroline was part of Spains terrain in the New World. The Spaniards felt this as a direct threat to their land that they had claimed in North America. The Spanish ruler wasted no time, and he decided to send Pedro Menendez along with his private army to destroy the small French colony (Shea 23). The only defense the French had was a tiny fort which they had set up on the St. Johns River in Florida. The Spanish warriors, because of this, took only little time to wipe out the tiny colony (Shea 23). A few of the French people, however, managed to escape by sea. The tiny French colony of Fort Caroline lasted only a year. This was the beginning of the fight between Spain, Great Britain as well as France over the possession of the region that would form the Mississippi. Immediately after the destruction of Fort Caroline, the Spaniards set up Fort St. Augustine, in 1565 (Gilmary 56).
A period of about 130 years from De Sotos trek went by with no further exploration of the Mississippi. In 1673, Louis Joliet and Jacques Marquette, who were French explorers, traveled down the Mississippi to the mouth of the Arkansas River. The same trail took place nine years later by a different French explorer, Robert Cavelier de La Salle. Salle claimed all the land close to the river for France. He named that vast area as Louisiane. This translated to English is Louisiana. He gave it the name Louisiane in honor of his ruler, King Louis IV. The Mississippi River played a vital role in the settlement of this wilderness region. After Salle, French settlers started to arrive and build forts along the Gulf Coast. The Gulf Coast is presently the stretch from Louisiana to Florida. It also includes the Surgeres Island. As was before, the fresh settlers brought illness to the region as proved by the death rate that was being experienced of in Fort Maurepas. This was around 1701. In 1702, Fort Maurepas was deserted in support of a fresh settlement on the Mobile Bay. Mobile Bay is the present-day Alabama. Mobile remained the capital city and main settlement of Louisiana till 1722. After 1722, the center of government was relocated to New Orleans.
Works Cited
Geoghegan, Ann. Mississippi Territory. NP, 2004. Web. Gilmary, John. Discovery and Exploration of the Mississippi Valley: With the Original Narratives of Marquette, Allouez, Membré, Hennepin, and Anastase Douay. Michigan: Scholarly Publishing Office, University of Michigan Library, 2008. Print.
Shea, John. Discovery and Exploration of the Mississippi Valley. Boston: Adamant Media Corporation, 2001. Print. Read More
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