Chapter

Before the Americans

in The Sangamo Frontier

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780226514246
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226514239 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226514239.003.0004
Before the Americans

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The first European settlers of what would become Illinois were French. Most Illinoisans today do not fully realize that this region was once a French colony that was part of France: French language, French government, French customs, French recipes bubbling in French pots. About fifty years officially, closer to a century unofficially. The French frontier began with a handful of mission chapels and small forts for the fur trade, built alongside several Indian villages during the last decades of the seventeenth century. Towns and farm fields came next. By the 1740s, French Illinois was feeding New Orleans, and second-generation residents of European descent were living in houses that needed repair. During the 1750s a distant war was fought against the British, and in 1763, the end of the Seven Years' War marked the end of so many plans in Illinois.

Keywords: French colony; French frontier; Illinois; mission chapels; fur trade; European settlers; Seven Years' War

Chapter.  4458 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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