If not for the British, we would be speaking French by now. The first foreigners that set foot in the Mississippi were the French Canadians in the 1600. They were not interested in colonizing but more in the fur trade and to find a way to ship their goods to their mother country. Thus many of them settled in the lowlands or bottom of the Mississippi River.
The French men befriended the Indians, married Indian women and converted them to Christianity. If the French has to survive they had to rely heavily on the Indians. They didn’t know the area and since they are just traveling through, they didn’t have time to forage for food.
This piece of history was confirmed by a docent we met at Fort de Chartres. He said the Indians and the French peacefully co-existed because the Indians knew that the French were not there to grab their lands. Please click on the link to know more about Fort de Chartres.
When the expedition of Lewis and Clark happened upon this fort, everything was in ruins and many of the buildings were dilapidated having been abandoned for many years. In 1913, through an Act of Congress, the government bought the fort and renovated its buildings. They could not find any records of how the buildings were set up so the government engineers studied other French forts that were built during that period.
It is a hardly known historical spot. Though well-maintained they only had three personnel when my cousin and I visited and a handful of tourists. Closed only on major holidays, it is opened all year long. Entrance is free.
I would like to visit again when volunteers dress in period clothes during the Rendezvous which normally is the first week of June.
For address: click on the link