Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet

In 1673, trader Louis Jolliet and Jesuit priest Jacques Marquette set out in search of the ‘Big River’ that natives Americans said existed to the west of the Great Lakes.

This two-part series offers background on the time and place, and details the expedition in search of the Mississippi River.


Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet and the Search for the Mississippi River – Part 1

French explorers Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette we do background into the French colonial efforts in Canada – and the rumors of a ‘Big River’ that lies in the west – the Mississippi. We then learn about our explorers – Marquette and Jolliet – and get them going on their expedition.

Download this episode or listen online.

Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet and the Search for the Mississippi River – Part 2

In part 2 of our series on French Explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet, we follow them down the Mississippi – and then back to their home base – taking an alternate route up the Illinois River. With their journey complete, we do a look at the rest of the lives of both men.

Download this episode or listen online.


Image courtesy of GeoCurrents.


Jacques Marquette, by Donnelly, Joseph P. This is one of the few biographies on Marquette – and it’s fairly recent (1985). However, know that the author is a priest, so there’s some heavy favoritism towards our Jesuit missionary. Still, it’s very thorough – and goes into great detail on Marquette’s life – not just his famed voyage.

Louis Joliet, Explorer of Rivers, by Virginia Louise Snider. A bit dated biography (1961), but not a lot to choose from regarding Joliett. Still, this is a good look at the entire life of Joliett.

Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet by Zachary Kent. This is actually a book aimed at kids, but it was a well-done – and concise – take on our explorers.

Louis Joliett Wikipedia page.

Jacques Marquette Wikipedia page.