The Kaskaskia-Cahokia Trail (KCT) can be traced back 8000 years to prehistoric, nomadic Indians, whose movements created the trail for sustenance, trade, social and religious purposes. Over time, these first people built large civilizations with earthen mound cities ... religious and cultural centers that are still visible today. The greatest of these is Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in Collinsville, Illinois.
Early French explorers, trappers, traders and Catholic missionaries colonized the region, establishing permanent villages and church missions at Kaskaskia and Cahokia, some 60 miles apart in the middle Mississippi River Valley, in what was called the Illinois Country, from the late 1600s through mid 1700s. The French named these villages after the predominate tribes they lived with at these locations. The colonists lived and traded with the indigenous Illiniwek Confederation of Tribes they met in the region, including the Kaskaskia, Cahokia, Tamaroa, Peoria, Michigamea, Wea, and as many as twelve other nations. The Indians first introduced the KCT to the French in the early 1700s as an overland route connecting Kaskaskia and Cahokia. Forts and settlements were built along the route. (next)
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