Posted by on Jan 31, 2014 in Florence Bird Sculpture | 1 comment

Small Bronze Edition of Marquette, Mississippi River Explorer and Jesuit Missionary

Small Bronze Edition of Marquette, Mississippi River Explorer and Jesuit Missionary

Jacques Marquette, which may be recalled from 5th to 8th grade history lessons, is recognized as one of the first European explorers to visit the Mississippi River valley north of the Arkansas, up into Wisconsin. He and Louis Joliet have been recognized as the “discoverers” of the Confluence of the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers, near Prairie du Chien Wisconsin, even though many Native and other travelers had tread that ground previously since the earliest human inhabitants. His figure is slated one day to be represented by a life-size bronze at the Mississippi River Sculpture Park at Prairie du Chien. The figure shown here is one of a limited edition bronze that is about 1/4-1/5 life-size; currently available to collectors.

Jacques Marquette was born in 1637.  He died far from his birthplace in Laon, France at the age of 37, from an illness while on his expedition of European discovery of the northern Mississippi River and tributaries. His remains were found, and although there had been some controversy of the exact location of his death, the grave was relocated in 1677 to St. Ignace, Michigan, where it remains today. He was a linguist and readily adapted to Native languages, most notably Huron. He was a Jesuit missionary of Catholicism and helped develop European incursions in Sault St Marie, Michigan and LaPointe, Wisconsin, among others.

Marquette is often mentioned along with his traveling companion Louis Joliet, who will be another subject of this sculpture series. Their journeys were well-chronicled and offered the first European glimpse of the upper Mississippi, through Catholic eyes of Père (Father) Marquette’s Jesuit mission. Their party was the first European one, for example, to cross the 2-mile overland portage from the Wisconsin to the Fox River, which in turn offered a waterway that ultimately connected the Mississippi to the Great Lakes by way of Lake Michigan. The significance of this moment in American continental history have had global implications.

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  1. Louis Joliet | Florence Bird Studio LLC - […] seminary work to pursue fur trading and geographic scholarship. His name is often associated with Jacques Marquette during their…
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