Europeans Come to Iowa

In 1673 European explorers, Marquette and Joliet, traveled the Mississippi River spending time in what would become Iowa. They brought change to the area's native inhabitants.


At the time the first American colonies were developing in the East the Indian tribes of Iowa remained isolated from the new immigrants. They traded only with nearby tribes and knew little or nothing of the changes they would face when the American frontier intruded on their lives.


Then in June 1673, where the Wisconsin River flows into the Mississippi, a French explorer named Louis Jolliet, a Jesuit priest, Father Jacques Marquette, and their five campaigns became the first white men to gaze upon the area that would come to be called Iowa.

(music and the sound of paddles in the water)

The notes that Father Marquette wrote in his journal marked the end of the prehistoric area and the beginning of recorded history in this land. It also marked the entrance of a new culture that would cause conflict and forever change the way the Indians lived.

“First People of the Prairies,” The Iowa Heritage: Program # 1, Iowa PBS, 1979.