Wednesday, March 25, 2009


The year 1682 was an important one for two adventurous Europeans – French explorer Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, and William Penn, an English Quaker.

La Salle had set out from Canada in 1689, searching for a great river described by the Indians. In 1682-1682, he traveled down the full length of the Mississippi. When he reached the Gulf of Mexico in April, 1682, he claimed all the land that the Mississippi flowed through for France. La Salle named the vast territory Louisiana, in honor of his king, Louis XIV.

As a Quaker, William Penn was persecuted and jailed in England for his religious beliefs. In 1681, he received a grant of land in America from the English king in settlement of a debt owed to his father. Penn immediately sent agents to the New World to begin building a settlement. The next year, he went to America himself and issued the colony’s frame of government. Penn’s guarantee of religious freedom and his easy terms for buying land attracted many settlers to his colony – “Penn’s Woods,” or Pennsylvania.

Also in 1682 – One of America’s first best-sellers was published in 1682. The Sovereignty and Goodness of God was Mary Rowlandson’s account of her capture by Wampanoag Indians in Massachusetts in 1676.

The painting with this post is titled LaSalle at the Mouth of the Mississippi. The artist is George Catlin. It was painted sometime in the 1840s.

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