Friday, October 15, 2010

Back in Rouen

Next to the tower where Joan of Arc was imprisoned in Rouen, I was pleased to discover this plaque. It commemorates the birthplace of Cavelier de la Salle, the French explorer whose name is known to all American school children, and (judging by the COG's indifference when I delightedly pointed it out to him) unknown to English school children.

From what I can make out, the plaque says "In the Parish of Saint Herbland was erected the house where was born on 22 of November 1643 Robert, Cavelier de la Salle, [who was] assassinated in Texas the 18th of March 1687. He founded near Montreal, on the St. Laurent River, the town of Lachine. He descended the Mississippi River, an explorer and peaceful conquerer. He gave Louisiana to France.

According to Wikipedia (I  love Wikipedia), he was murdered by Pierre Duhaut, one of his own men during a mutiny in Texas. Also, the town may have been called Lachine because his dream was to find a way to China (La Chine, in French). His explorations of Indiana, Ohio and the Mississippi were part of that dream.

Also, he was accompanied by Father Hennepin, who (while travelling without de la Salle) was captured by a Sioux war party and who, at some point, was 'imprisoned' on an island in Lake Mille Lacs, where our family has a summer home.

Or maybe not - Father Hennepin (according to Wiki, again) was apparently a notorious liar.

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