Detroit History -- "French Detroit 1701-1760"

Lady Jane, January 31 2013

Antoine de le Mothe Cadillac's party arrives in Michigan.Antoine de le Mothe Cadillac's party arrives in Michigan

The city of Detroit was founded in 1701 by an enterprising French colonial officer named Antoine de le Mothe Cadillac. The construction of what was originally a fort at location took place against a backdrop of decline in New France -- all but one western settlement had actually been closed over the previous four years.

To arrive at le detroit, as the general area was known at the time, the French did not take the most direct route up Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. To do so would have invited the wrath of the dominant Iroquois tribes. Instead they went overland through Ontario and approached from the north via Lake Huron.

Cadillac's party arrived at the Detroit River on July 23, 1701 and founded their settlement the next day. The original name for the fort was Fort Ponchartrain du Detroit. The Ponchartrain part of the name was in honor of either Louis de Ponchartrain or his son, Jerome Ponchartrain, who both served as Minister of Marine in this era. In modern times the name can still be found far from Detroit in Louisiana, where Lake Ponchartrain sits near New Orleans.

For more information on Detroit, the website Detroit History is a terrific resource.

Spread the Word

comments powered by Disqus