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Who discovered the Great Lakes?
from Daniel in Columbia, SC, Age 13

The first discoverers of the Great Lakes were Native peoples, who were the original inhabitants and settlers of the region. Europeans didn't arrive at the Great Lakes until around the year 1600 or so.

The man generally credited with the European "discovery" of the Great Lakes is Étienne Brûlé (1592?-1632), a French scout for the explorer Samuel de Champlain (1567?-1635).

Brûlé reached Georgian Bay on Lake Huron around 1615, and went on to see Lake Ontario and the Susquehanna River. Champlain, meanwhile, explored the St. Lawrence River and eventually founded the first European settlement on the site of what is now called Québec in 1608. He first saw the lake that now bears his name in 1609 and in 1611, Champlain founded the trading post of Montréal.

Related references:
TEACH: Native Peoples of the Great Lakes Region
EPA / EC: Settlement and Development
John Cletheroe: Significant Figures In American and Canadian History

Thank you for your question!


Answered on September 25, 2001

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