The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
The Taensa were a Native American people whose settlements at the time of European contact in the late 17th century were located in present-day Tensas Parish, Louisiana. The meaning of the name, which has the further spelling variants of Taenso, Tenza or Tinza, Tahensa or Takensa, Tenisaw, is unknown, it is believed to be an autonym. The Taensa should not be confused with the Avoyel, known by the French as the petits Taensas, who were mentioned in writings by explorer Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville in 1699; the Taensa are more related to the Natchez people and both are considered descendants of the late prehistoric Plaquemine culture. The Taensa migrated as a result of Chickasaw and Yazoo hostilities, first lower down the Mississippi River. In 1715, protected by the French, they migrated to lands near the now eponymously named Tensas River near Mobile, Alabama; when the French ceded Mobile and their other territory east of the Mississippi River to the English in 1763, following their defeat in the Seven Years' War, the Taensa and other small tribes returned to Louisiana, settling near the Red River.
They numbered about 100 persons in 1805. They moved south to Bayou Boeuf and still to Grand Lake, "after which the remnant disappear from history." The Taensa and the related Natchez are descendants of the late prehistoric Plaquemine culture. The Plaquemine culture was a Mississippian culture variant centered on the Lower Mississippi River valley, they had complex political and religious institutions and lived in large villages centered on ceremonial platform mounds. They were agriculturists who grew maize, squash and tobacco, they had a deep history in the area stretching back through the earlier Coles Creek and Troyville cultures to the Marksville culture, contemporaneous with the Hopewell cultures of present-day Ohio and Illinois. The Tensas Basin region where their villages were found has several Coles Creek and Plaquemine era ceremonial sites with platform mounds located nearby, including the Coles Creek era Balmoral Mounds, the Plaquemine era Routh Mounds and Flowery Mound sites.. The post-Hernando de Soto entrada Transylvania Phase of the Tensas Basin saw the increasing spread of Mississippian influences diffusing southward from Arkansas and northwestern Mississippi.
The Jordan Mounds site on a relict channel of the Arkansas River in northeastern Louisianas Morehouse Parish was constructed during the protohistoric period between 1540 and 1685. The builders were an intrusive group in the area, Mississippianized peoples who were refugees from the Mississippi River area to the east and were escaping the collapse of their society brought about by the aftereffects of European contact. By the late 1600s the site was abandoned. Historians and archaeologists such as Marvin Jeter have theorized that the Plaquemine "Northern Natchezan" ancestors of the Taensa were in part some of the peoples documented in the early 1540s by the de Soto expedition in southeastern Arkansas and northwestern Mississippi. After the disastrous encounter and subsequent population crash due to the introduction of European diseases and political upheaval left in de Soto's wake, remnant populations of Northern Natchezans migrated down the Mississippi toward their Southern Natchezan cousins.
The first securely documented European contact with the Taensa was by the French La Salle expedition of 1682. They were described as having a village on Lake St. Joseph, a narrow crescent shaped oxbow lake located west of the Mississippi, between the Yazoo River and Saint Catherine Creek. La Salles associate Henri de Tonti visited the Taensa again in 1686 and 1690, they numbered 1,200 people scattered throughout seven or eight villages on the western end of the lake and another on the Tensas River near present-day Clayton in Concordia Parish. In 1698 French Catholic missionary priests Antoine Davion and François de Montigny and J. B. La Source visited the Taensa. De Montigny at that time records their population as being 700 people. In 1699 French explorer Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville recorded the Taensa as having 300 warriors and living in seven villages named as Taensas, Conchayon, Nyhougoula and Talaspa; the majority of these names are in the Muskogean Mobilian trade language and not the Natchezan Taensa language.
During his time with the Taensa, de Montigny prevented them from performing acts of ritual human sacrifice as part of the funeral rites for a deceased chief. Because of this, the Taensa blamed de Montigny when lightning struck their wattle and daub temple and burned it down, he left to join the Natchez in 1790, his mission to the Taensa was taken over by Jean-François Buisson de Saint-Cosme. Along with other native peoples of the lower Mississippi River, the Taensa were subject to slave raids and epidemics of European diseases such as smallpox during this time period; as the population of the Taensa decreased, de Saint-Cosme in 1700 endeavored in vain to have them join with the much larger Natchez and consolidate the two missions. De Saint-Cosme settled among the Taensa and the Natchez for less than a year before leaving; the English and French colonies in the American southeast struggled for domination. The English colony of South Carolina had established a large trading network among the southeastern Native Americans, which by 1700 str
The Ozarks called the Ozark Mountains or Ozark Plateau, is a physiographic region in the U. S. states of Missouri, Arkansas and extreme southeastern Kansas. The Ozarks cover a significant portion of northern Arkansas and most of the southern half of Missouri, extending from Interstate 40 in Arkansas to the Interstate 70 in central Missouri. There are two mountain ranges within the Ozarks: the Boston Mountains of Arkansas and the St. Francois Mountains of Missouri. Buffalo Lookout, the highest point in the Ozarks, is located in the Boston Mountains. Geologically, the area is a broad dome with the exposed core in the ancient St. Francois Mountains, some of the oldest rocks in North America; the Ozarks cover nearly 47,000 square miles, making it the most extensive highland region between the Appalachians and Rockies. Together with the Ouachita Mountains, the area is known as the U. S. Interior Highlands; the Salem Plateau, named after Salem, makes up the largest geologic area of the Ozarks. The second largest is the Springfield Plateau, named after Springfield, nicknamed the “Queen City of the Ozarks”.
On the northern Ozark border are the cities of Columbia, Missouri. Significant cities in Arkansas include Fayetteville. Near the Missouri-Arkansas border is Branson, Missouri, a tourist destination and popularizer of Ozark culture. Ozarks is a toponym believed to be derived as an English-language adaptation of the French abbreviation aux Arcs. In the decades prior to the French and Indian War, aux Arkansas referred to the trading post at Arkansas Post, located in wooded Arkansas Delta lowland area above the confluence of the Arkansas River with the Mississippi River. "Arkansas" seems to be the French version of what the Illinois tribe called the Quapaw, who lived in eastern Arkansas in the area of the trading post. The term came to refer to all Ozark Plateau drainage into the Arkansas and Missouri Rivers. An alternative origin for the name "Ozark" relates. In the 17th and early 18th centuries, French cartographers mapped the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers; the large, top most arc or bend in this part of the Arkansas River was referred to as being aux arcs—the top or northernmost arc in the whole of the lower Arkansas.
Travelers arriving by boat would disembark at this top bend of the river to explore the Ozarks. Other possible derivations include aux arcs meaning " of the arches," in reference to the dozens of natural bridges formed by erosion and collapsed caves in the Ozark region; these include Clifty Hollow Natural Bridge in Missouri, Alum Cove in the Ozark – St. Francis National Forest, it is suggested aux arcs is an abbreviation of aux arcs-en-ciel, French for "toward the rainbows," which are a common sight in the mountainous regions. After the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, American travelers in the region referred to various features of the upland areas using the term Ozark, such as Ozark Mountains and Ozark forests. By the early 20th century, the Ozarks had become a generic and used term; the Ozarks consist of five physiographic subregions: the Boston Mountains of north Arkansas and Cookson Hills of east Oklahoma. Karst features such as springs, losing streams and caves are common in the limestones of the Springfield Plateau and abundant in the dolostone bedrock of the Salem Plateau and Boston Mountains.
Missouri is known as "The Cave State" with over 6000 recorded caves. The Ozark Plateaus aquifer system affects groundwater movement in all areas except the igneous core of the St. Francois Mountains. Geographic features include limestone and dolomite glades, which are rocky, desert-like area on hilltops. Kept open by periodic fires that limit growth of grasses and forbs in shallow soil, glades are home to collared lizards, scorpions and other species more typical of the desert southwest; the Boston Mountains contain the highest elevations of the Ozarks with peaks over 2,500 feet and form some of the greatest relief of any formation between the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains. The Ouachita Mountains to the south rise a few hundred feet higher, but are not geographically associated with the Ozarks; the Boston Mountains portion of the Ozarks extends north of the Arkansas River Valley 20 to 35 miles and is 200 miles and are bordered by the Springfield and Salem Plateau to the north of the White River.
Summits can reach elevations of just over 2,560 feet with valleys 500 to 1,550 feet deep. Turner Ward Knob is the highest named peak. Located in western Newton County, its elevation is 2,463 feet. Nearby, five unnamed peaks have elevations at or above 2,560 feet. Drainage is to the White River, with the exception of the Illinois River, although there is considerab
The various cultures collectively termed "Mound Builders" were inhabitants of North America who, during a circa 5,000-year period, constructed various styles of earthen mounds for religious, ceremonial and elite residential purposes. These included the pre-Columbian cultures of the Archaic period, Woodland period, Mississippian period. Since the 19th century, the prevailing scholarly consensus has been that the mounds were constructed by indigenous peoples of the Americas. Sixteenth-century Spanish explorers met natives living in a number of Mississippian cities, described their cultures, left artifacts. Research and study of these cultures and peoples has been based on archaeology and anthropology; the namesake cultural trait of the Mound Builders was the building of other earthworks. These burial and ceremonial structures were flat-topped pyramids or platform mounds, flat-topped or rounded cones, elongated ridges, sometimes a variety of other forms, they were built as part of complex villages.
The early earthworks built in Louisiana around 3500 BCE are the only ones known to have been built by a hunter-gatherer culture. The best-known flat-topped pyramidal structure, which at more than 100 ft tall is the largest pre-Columbian earthwork north of Mexico, is Monks Mound at Cahokia in present-day Collinsville, Illinois. At its maximum about CE 1150, Cahokia was an urban settlement with 20,000–30,000 people; some effigy mounds were constructed in the outlines of culturally significant animals. The most famous effigy mound, Serpent Mound in southern Ohio, ranges from 1 to just over 3 ft tall. 20 ft wide, more than 1,330 ft long, shaped as an undulating serpent. Many different tribal groups and chiefdoms, involving an array of beliefs and unique cultures over thousands of years, built mounds as expressions of their cultures; the general term, "mound builder", covered their shared architectural practice of earthwork mound construction. This practice, believed to be associated with a cosmology that had a cross-cultural appeal, may indicate common cultural antecedents.
The first mound building was an early marker of political and social complexity among the cultures in the Eastern United States. Watson Brake in Louisiana, constructed about 3500 BCE during the Middle Archaic period, is the oldest dated mound complex in North America, it is one of 11 mound complexes from this period found in the Lower Mississippi Valley. These mound builders were organized; the most complete reference for these earthworks is Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley, written by Ephraim G. Squier and Edwin H. Davis, it was published in 1848 by the Smithsonian Institution. Since many of the features which the authors documented have since been destroyed or diminished by farming and development, their surveys and descriptions are still used by modern archaeologists. All of the sites which they identified as located in Kentucky came from the manuscripts of C. S. Rafinesque. Hernando de Soto, the Spanish conquistador, who during 1540–1542, traversed what became the Southeast United States, encountered many different mound-builder peoples descendants of the great Mississippian culture.
The mound-building tradition still existed in the southeast during the mid-16th century. De Soto observed people living in fortified towns with lofty mounds and plazas, surmised that many of the mounds served as foundations for priestly temples. Near present-day Augusta, Georgia, de Soto encountered a mound-building group ruled by a queen, Cofitachequi, she told him. The artist Jacques le Moyne, who had accompanied French settlers to northeastern Florida during the 1560s noted many Native American groups using existing mounds and constructing others, he produced a series of watercolor paintings depicting scenes of native life. Although most of his paintings have been lost, some engravings were copied from the originals and published in 1591 by a Flemish company. Among these is a depiction of the burial of an aboriginal Floridian tribal chief, an occasion of great mourning and ceremony; the original caption reads: Maturin Le Petit, a Jesuit priest, met the Natchez people as did Le Page du Pratz, a French explorer.
Both observed them in the area that became Mississippi. The Natchez were devout worshippers of the sun. Having a population of some 4,000, they occupied at least nine villages and were presided over by a paramount chief, known as the Great Sun, who wielded absolute power. Both observers noted the high temple mounds which the Natchez had built so that the Great Sun could commune with God, the sun, his large residence was built atop the highest mound, from "which, every morning, he greeted the rising sun, invoking thanks and blowing tobacco smoke to the four cardinal directions". Explorers to the same regions, only a few decades after mound-building settlements had been reported, found the regions depopulated, the residents vanished, the mounds untended. Since little violent conflict with Europeans had occurred in that area during that period, the most plausible explanation is that infectious diseases from the Old World, such as smallpox
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States federal government's official list of districts, buildings and objects deemed worthy of preservation for their historical significance. A property listed in the National Register, or located within a National Register Historic District, may qualify for tax incentives derived from the total value of expenses incurred preserving the property; the passage of the National Historic Preservation Act in 1966 established the National Register and the process for adding properties to it. Of the more than one million properties on the National Register, 80,000 are listed individually; the remainder are contributing resources within historic districts. For most of its history the National Register has been administered by the National Park Service, an agency within the United States Department of the Interior, its goals are to help property owners and interest groups, such as the National Trust for Historic Preservation, coordinate and protect historic sites in the United States.
While National Register listings are symbolic, their recognition of significance provides some financial incentive to owners of listed properties. Protection of the property is not guaranteed. During the nomination process, the property is evaluated in terms of the four criteria for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places; the application of those criteria has been the subject of criticism by academics of history and preservation, as well as the public and politicians. Historic sites outside the country proper, but associated with the United States are listed. Properties can be nominated in a variety of forms, including individual properties, historic districts, multiple property submissions; the Register categorizes general listings into one of five types of properties: district, structure, building, or object. National Register Historic Districts are defined geographical areas consisting of contributing and non-contributing properties; some properties are added automatically to the National Register when they become administered by the National Park Service.
These include National Historic Landmarks, National Historic Sites, National Historical Parks, National Military Parks, National Memorials, some National Monuments. On October 15, 1966, the Historic Preservation Act created the National Register of Historic Places and the corresponding State Historic Preservation Offices; the National Register consisted of the National Historic Landmarks designated before the Register's creation, as well as any other historic sites in the National Park system. Approval of the act, amended in 1980 and 1992, represented the first time the United States had a broad-based historic preservation policy; the 1966 act required those agencies to work in conjunction with the SHPO and an independent federal agency, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, to confront adverse effects of federal activities on historic preservation. To administer the newly created National Register of Historic Places, the National Park Service of the U. S. Department of the Interior, with director George B.
Hartzog Jr. established an administrative division named the Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation. Hartzog charged OAHP with creating the National Register program mandated by the 1966 law. Ernest Connally was the Office's first director. Within OAHP new divisions were created to deal with the National Register; the division administered several existing programs, including the Historic Sites Survey and the Historic American Buildings Survey, as well as the new National Register and Historic Preservation Fund. The first official Keeper of the Register was an architectural historian. During the Register's earliest years in the late 1960s and early 1970s, organization was lax and SHPOs were small and underfunded. However, funds were still being supplied for the Historic Preservation Fund to provide matching grants-in-aid to listed property owners, first for house museums and institutional buildings, but for commercial structures as well. A few years in 1979, the NPS history programs affiliated with both the U.
S. National Parks system and the National Register were categorized formally into two "Assistant Directorates." Established were the Assistant Directorate for Archeology and Historic Preservation and the Assistant Directorate for Park Historic Preservation. From 1978 until 1981, the main agency for the National Register was the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service of the United States Department of the Interior. In February 1983, the two assistant directorates were merged to promote efficiency and recognize the interdependency of their programs. Jerry L. Rogers was selected to direct this newly merged associate directorate, he was described as a skilled administrator, sensitive to the need for the NPS to work with SHPOs, local governments. Although not described in detail in the 1966 act, SHPOs became integral to the process of listing properties on the National Register; the 1980 amendments of the 1966 law further defined the responsibilities of SHPOs concerning the National Register.
Several 1992 amendments of the NHPA added a category to the National Register, known as Traditional Cultural Properties: those properties associated with Native American or Hawaiian groups
The Natchez are a Native American people who lived in the Natchez Bluffs area in the Lower Mississippi Valley, near the present-day city of Natchez, Mississippi in the United States. They spoke a language with no known close relatives, although it may be distantly related to the Muskogean languages of the Creek Confederacy; the Natchez are noted for being the only Mississippian culture with complex chiefdom characteristics to have survived long into the period after the European colonization of America began. Others had declined a century or two before European encounter; the Natchez are noted for having had an unusual social system of nobility classes and exogamous marriage practices. It was a matrilineal kinship society, with descent reckoned along female lines; the paramount chief named the Great Sun was always the son of the Female Sun, whose daughter would be the mother of the next Great Sun. This ensured. Ethnologists have not reached consensus on how the Natchez social system functioned, the topic is somewhat controversial.
Around 1730, after several wars with the French, the Natchez dispersed. Most survivors were sold by the French into slavery in the West Indies. Today, most Natchez families and communities are found in Oklahoma, where Natchez members are enrolled in the federally recognized Cherokee and Muscogee nations in Oklahoma. Two Natchez communities are recognized by the state of South Carolina. An early American geographer noted in his 1797 gazetteer that they were known as the "Sun Set Indians"; the historic Natchez were preceded in this area by what archaeologists call the indigenous Plaquemine culture, part of the larger, prehistoric Mississippian culture, which extended throughout the lower Mississippi Valley and its tributaries. Its largest center was at Cahokia in present-day Illinois near the confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers, its peoples were noted for their hierarchical communities, building complex earthworks and platform mound architecture, intensively cultivating maize. Archaeological evidence indicates that people of the Plaquemine culture, an elaboration of the Coles Creek culture, had lived in the Natchez Bluffs region since at least as long ago as 700 CE.
The Natchez Bluffs are located along the east side of the Mississippi River in present-day Mississippi. During the late prehistoric era, around 1500, Plaquemine-culture people occupied territory from the Big Black River in the north to about the Homochitto River in the south; the Plaquemine people built many platform mounds, including Emerald Mound, the second-largest pre-Columbian structure in North America north of Mexico. Emerald Mound was an important ceremonial center; the Natchez used Emerald Mound in their time, but they abandoned the site before 1700. Their center of power shifted to the Grand Village of the Natchez; the Grand Village has three platform mounds. By 1700, the Natchez occupied a territory that covered only an area between Fairchilds Creek and South Fork Coles Creek in the north to St. Catherine's Creek in the south; this area is that of the northern half of present-day Adams County, Mississippi. The earliest European account of the Natchez may be from the journals of the Spanish expedition of Hernando de Soto.
In 1542 de Soto's expedition encountered a powerful chiefdom located on the eastern bank of the Mississippi River. Native sources called it "Quigualtam," after the paramount chief's name. Various scholars have debated if this chiefdom was the Emerald Phase of the Natchez chiefdom, in its ascendancy at the time; the encounter was violent. No further European contact with the indigenous people in this area occurred for more 140 years, but they suffered from epidemics of infectious disease carried indirectly by other Native Americans from European traders; these and other intrusions had reduced the native populations. By the historic period local power had shifted to the Grand Village of the Natchez; the French explored the lower Mississippi River in the late 17th century. Initial French-Natchez encounters were mixed. In 1682 René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle led an expedition down the Mississippi River; the Natchez received the party well, but when the French returned upriver, they were met by a hostile force of about 1,500 Natchez warriors and hurried away.
At the time of the next French visit in the 1690s, the Natchez were friendly. When Iberville visited the Natchez in 1700, he was given a three-day-long peace ceremony, which involved the smoking of a ceremonial pipe and a feast. French Catholic missionaries from Canada began to settle among the Natchez in 1698. On the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, French colonists established Biloxi in 1699 and Mobile in 1702. Early French Louisiana was governed by Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville and his brother Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, among others. Both brothers played a major role in French-Natchez relations. During the early 18th century, according to French sources, the Natchez lived in six to nine village districts with a population estimated at 4,000-6,000 people, with the ability to muster 1,500 warriors. There were three village districts in the lower St. Catherine's Creek area, called Tioux and the Grand Village of the Natchez. Three other village districts were located to the northeast, along upper St. Catherine's Creek and Fairchild's Creek, called White Apple and Jenzenaque.
Father Jacques Marquette S. J. sometimes known as Père Marquette or James Marquette, was a French Jesuit missionary who founded Michigan's first European settlement, Sault Ste. Marie, founded St. Ignace, Michigan. In 1673, Father Marquette and Louis Jolliet were the first Europeans to explore and map the northern portion of the Mississippi River Valley. Jacques Marquette was born in Laon, France, on June 1, 1637, he came of an ancient family distinguished for its military services. Marquette joined the Society of Jesus at age 17, he studied and taught in France for several years, the Jesuits assigned him to New France in 1666 as a missionary to the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Arriving at Quebec he was at once signed to Trois-Rivières on the Saint Lawrence, where he assisted Gabriel Druillettes and, as preliminary to further work, devoted himself to the study of the local languages, became fluent in six different dialects. In 1668 Father Marquette was moved by his superiors to missions farther up the St. Lawrence River in the western Great Lakes region.
That year he helped Gabriel Druillettes found the mission at Sault Ste. Marie in present-day Michigan. Other missions were founded at St. Ignace in 1671, at La Pointe, on Lake Superior near the city of Ashland, Wisconsin. At La Pointe he encountered members of the Illinois tribes, who told him about the important trading route of the Mississippi River, they invited him to teach their people, whose settlements were farther south. Because of wars between the Hurons at La Pointe and the neighboring Lakota people, Father Marquette left the mission and went to the Straits of Mackinac. Leave was granted, in 1673 Marquette joined the expedition of Louis Jolliet, a French-Canadian explorer, they departed from St. Ignace on May 17, with two canoes and five voyageurs of French-Indian ancestry, they followed Lake Michigan up the Fox River, nearly to its headwaters. From there, they were told to portage their canoes a distance of less than two miles through marsh and oak plains to the Wisconsin River. Many years at that point the town of Portage, Wisconsin was built, named for the ancient path between the two rivers.
From the portage, they ventured forth, on June 17 they entered the Mississippi near present-day Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. The Joliet-Marquette expedition traveled to within 435 miles of the Gulf of Mexico but turned back at the mouth of the Arkansas River. By this point they had encountered several natives carrying European trinkets, they feared an encounter with explorers or colonists from Spain, they followed the Mississippi back to the mouth of the Illinois River, which they learned from local natives provided a shorter route back to the Great Lakes. They reached Lake Michigan near the site of modern-day Chicago, by way of the Chicago Portage. In September Marquette stopped at the mission of St. Francis Xavier, located in present-day Green Bay, while Jolliet returned to Quebec to relate the news of their discoveries. Marquette and his party returned to the Illinois Territory in late 1674, becoming the first Europeans to winter in what would become the city of Chicago; as welcomed guests of the Illinois Confederation, the explorers were feasted en route and fed ceremonial foods such as sagamite.
In the spring of 1675, Marquette traveled westward and celebrated a public mass at the Grand Village of the Illinois near Starved Rock. A bout of dysentery which he had contracted during the Mississippi expedition sapped his health. On the return trip to St. Ignace, he died at age 37 near the modern town of Michigan. A Michigan Historical Marker at this location reads: The Ojibway Museum on State Street in downtown St. Ignace is in a building, constructed adjacent to Marquette's gravesite during urban development. Father Marquette is memorialized in the names of many towns, geographical locations, parks, a major university, other institutions: Marquette County, Marquette County, Wisconsin The communities of Marquette, Michigan. Marquette Transportation Company, a towboat company using a silhouette of the Pere in his canoe as their emblem. Marquette Building in Chicago, Illinois Marquette Elementary School, Illinois Marquette Park, Illinois Marquette Road, IllinoisIn addition, statues in Marquette's honor have been erected in several places, including the Prairie du Chien Post Office.
Other types of memorials were erected, including those at his birthplace in France. The Legler Branch of the Chicago Public Library displays "Wilderness, Winter River Scene," a restored mural by Midwestern artist R. Fayerweather Babcock; the mural depicts Father Jacques Native Americans trading by a river. Commissioned for Legler Branch in 1934, the mural was fu