From these first colonial villages and the overland Kaskaskia-Cahokia trail along the east side of the Mississippi River Valley, began the "civilized" settlement of the Illinois Country. Over the next 100 years, the KCT became the first road that spawned other paths to expanded settlement and growth.
1673 ... French explorer Louis Joliet and Pere (Father) Jacques Marquette traveled from French Canada down the Great Lakes and the Illinois River, through "uncharted wilderness" and began exploring the upper Mississippi River region.
1699 to 1703 ... French traders and missionaries established the first permanent French settlements and Catholic missions east of the Mississippi River at Cahokia and Kaskaskia.
1720 to 1763 ... The French built and operated Fort de Chartres near the colonial village of Prairie du Rocher, about 17 miles north of Kaskaskia Village on the Chemin du Roi, the Kings Road. King Louis XV of France would later send a village bell to the Kaskaskia colonists to promote loyalty and growth.
1754 to 1763 ... The French and their Indian allies were defeated by the British and their Indian allies in the Illinois Country during the French and Indian War. As a result, the British took control of all French forts and villages east of the Mississippi River in the Illinois country. Many French moved to the western side of the Mississippi River, where France retained vast land holdings. St. Louis and Ste. Genevieve were established and they prospered after the war. Prairie du Rocher merchant Pierre Laclede Liguest, is one who relocated and helped found St. Louis.
French Soldiers Drill at Fort de Chartres
Church of the Immaculate Conception
Liberty Bell of the West Memorial
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