Similar to Jacques Marquette, Louis Hennepin was a missionary and an explorer. He served alongside Robert de La Salle and discovered two waterfalls in North America: Niagara Falls and Saint Anthony Falls. He authored a book about his explorations titled A New Discovery.
Louis Hennepin Facts: Overview
Louis Hennepin was born May 12, 1626 in the Netherlands. When he was 33 years old the town he was born in and still resided in was captured by Louis XIV of France.
In May 1675 he accompanied Robert de La Salle and explored the western part of New France. The 39 year old would sail from Quebec city with La Salle and explore the Great Lakes and help set up the network of forts that would create much wealth for France in the New World. This would also be one of the first times a European explorer explored the Mississippi River and its tributaries.
On orders from La Salle, Hennepin led a group of men in canoes to explore the Illinois River. Hennepin followed the Illinois River to its junction with the Mississippi. Once there Hennepin was captured by Souix Indians and taken to Minnesota. He would eventually be released by the Souix and rejoin La Salle and his expedition.
In September 1680, thanks to Daniel Greysolon, Sieur Du Lhut, Hennepin and the others were given canoes and allowed to leave, eventually returning to Quebec. Hennepin returned to France and was never allowed by his order to return to North America. He died in 1704.
Louis Hennepin Facts: Books
Hennepin’s discoveries were mostly during his travels with Robert de La Salle, but what elevated his influence and standing was the books that he authored. He was the first to put words to what he saw during his explorations including the description of Niagara Falls and Saint Anthony Falls.
- Description de la Louisiane (Paris, 1683),
- Nouvelle découverte d’un très grand pays situé dans l’Amérique entre le Nouveau-Mexique et la mer glaciale (Utrecht, 1697), and
- Nouveau voyage d’un pays plus grand que l’Europe (Utrecht, 1698).
- A New Discovery of a Vast Country in Voyage America (2 volumes);