Louisiana's Canadian Founder

Pierre d'Iberville

The soldier and explorer who founded the French colony "La Louisiane"

Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville was born in 1661 in Montreal in Canada. He became well known through his strategic winning of battles in King William’s War. Iberville was the founder of the French colony La Louisiane. He was a soldier and explorer who was sent to find the mouth of the Mississippi River and establish a colony there for France. The Minister Ponchartrain tasked Iberville with following the guidelines left by the explorer La Salle and discovering the mouth of the Mississippi River. He was to build a fort there so that it would be protected from Spanish and English colonists. Iberville was chosen for the job because he had naval experience and had lead expeditions before, in Hudson Bay. On his first voyage, he was somewhat aimlessly exploring the delta and looking for a mixture of salt and freshwater that would signify the mouth of the river as La Salle had described it. Eventually he found a group of Native Americans who remembered La Salle, confirming that he was in the right place. He built a temporary fort at Biloxi so that he could return to France, leaving his brother Bienville behind with 80 other men.
On his second voyage, he built Fort Maurepas, and on the third voyage, a fort at Mobile. This was not welcomed by the Spanish acting governor because that territory was claimed by Spain, but Spain and France had recently made an agreement to work together in the colonies against their shared enemy, England. Iberville died in 1706 of yellow fever, weakened by years of diseases like malaria from his time in the Gulf area. The street that now bears his name in Iberville parish, also named after him, runs from Bayou Rd. along the Bayou Plaquemine to Main St. in Plaquemine, Louisiana.



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