La Salle Claims Land for France

French explorer, Rene-Robert Cavelier de La Salle, sailed from the Great Lakes up the St. Lawrence River, through the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, to the mouth of the Mississippi River in 1682. There he raised a French flag and claimed all the lands drained by the Mississippi for France.


Ten years later, in 1682, Robert Cavalier Sieur de La Salle and a larger party of explorers followed much the same route as Marquette and Jolliet. But La Salle’s journey brought him all the way to the Gulf of Mexico; where he claimed the Mississippi River Valley for his King and named it in his honor, Louisiana. La Salle’s claim included land later to be called Iowa, but the inhabitants of that land were not aware they were living on French soil, nor did the French ever really settle the land they had claimed. Eventually France transferred all her lands west of the Mississippi to Spain.

“The Tall Grass Whispers,” The Iowa Heritage: Program # 2, Iowa PBS, 1978.