|Ca. 1681 map of Marquette |
and Jolliet's 1673 expedition
Plaque commemorating Jolliet in Chicago.
May 18, 1673, Jolliet and Marquette departed from St. Ignace with two canoes and five other voyageurs of French-Indian ancestry. They followed Lake Michigan to Green Bay (Lake Michigan). They then sailed up the Fox River (Wisconsin) to a distance of slightly less than two miles through marsh and oak plains to the Wisconsin River. At that point Europeans eventually built a trading post, Portage, named for its location. From there, they ventured on and entered the Mississippi River near present-day Prairie du Chien on June 17.
The Jollies-Marquette expedition traveled down the Mississippi to within 435 miles (700 km) of the Gulf of Mexico, but they turned back north at the mouth of the Arkansas River. By this point, they had encountered natives carrying European goods, and they were concerned about an encounter with explorers or colonists from Spain. They followed the Mississippi back to the mouth of the Illinois River, which they learned from natives was a shorter route back to the Great Lakes. Following the Illinois and the Des Plaines rivers, via the Chicago Portage, they reached Lake Michigan near the location of modern-day Chicago. Marquette stopped at the mission of St. Francis Xavier in Green Bay, Wisc., in August, while Jolliet returned to Quebec to relate the news of their discoveries.
The party returned to the Illinois Territory in late 1674, becoming the first Europeans to winter over in what would become the city of Chicago. As welcomed guests of the Illinois Confederation, the explorers were feasted en route and developed trading relationships.