This brief reconnaissance of the entire coastline prefaced the subsequent colonial venture of Lucas Vazquez de Ayllon, whose colonists first made landfall in South Carolina before moving south, following Indian trails , to the Georgia coast in There, in an as yet undiscovered location perhaps near Sapelo Sound , Ayllon established the short-lived colony of San Miguel de Gualdape, which was abandoned just six weeks later, following political disputes and an African slave uprising.
In the spring of , an army of some Spanish soldiers under the command of Hernando de Soto marched north from Florida into southwestern Georgia in search of riches. The impact of the Hernando de Soto expedition was enormous. Not only did surviving Spanish chroniclers offer their first and last glimpse of pristine Native American chiefdoms across the interior southeastern United States, but the accidental introduction of European plague diseases most likely resulted in massive epidemic population losses in these same regions.
De Luna Landing. Pedro Menendez de Aviles. Although two major military expeditions under Captain Juan Pardo were dispatched into the Appalachian mountains between and from the short-lived Spanish colonial city of Santa Elena on Parris Island, Georgia's interior saw no further exploration until , when two Franciscan missionaries and a soldier briefly pushed inland as far as Altamaha and Ocute near present-day Milledgeville. When Spaniards heard rumors of an overland expedition from Mexico, they sent yet another expedition to these same towns under soldier Juan de Lara in , and at least five reconnaissance expeditions were dispatched into the interior Coastal Plain between and , including two trips under Ensign Pedro de Torres that penetrated as far as central South Carolina.
During this same period Franciscan missionaries explored other populated regions of southern Georgia, establishing missions at Utinahica near present-day Lumber City, Ibihica and Ocone near Folkston, and Cachipile and Arapaja near Valdosta by The well-documented expedition by Fray Luis Geronimo de Ore in late skirted the back side of the Okefenokee Swamp before descending the Altamaha River to the coast.
The final Spanish exploratory expedition into Georgia's interior took place in the winter of , when Florida governor Benito Ruiz de Salazar Vallecilla led a group of soldiers north from the Apalachee mission province into the villages of the unconverted Apalachicola province along the lower Chattahoochee River in southwest Georgia and eastern Alabama.
Though there were sporadic visits to these villages as late as , the Ruiz expedition was the last major Spanish exploratory venture into Georgia. The remaining portions of north Georgia would eventually be explored by English traders and soldiers during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century, long before ownership of the land was acquired through treaties between and Hide Caption.
Hernando de Soto. Further Reading. Cite This Article. Sequoyah ca. Arthur F. Raper Edward Porter Alexander Civil War in Georgia: Overview. Nancy Harts Militia. Civil War Archaeology. Trustee Georgia, John Clark Indian Trails. Boundaries of Georgia. Gold Rush. Howard Coffin January in Georgia History. Major Ridge ca. John Ruggles Cotting NGE Topics. From Our Home Page.
Vince Dooley b. Cabot probably coasted the shores of Maine, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador; certainly he saw enough to organize a more ambitious, but totally disastrous, venture the next year. Equally difficult to pinpoint is the activity of the Portuguese Corte-Real family in that area between and In addition, a rumoured expedition in about —09 by John Cabot's son, Sebastian, may simply have been a hoax.
Maps of the period show the rudimentary and hesitant outline of a coast stretching from the Spanish discoveries around the Carolinas northeast to the cod fisheries; however, there was still no understanding that Newfoundland was an island, nor any clear idea as to the nature of the coastline between the area of Spanish knowledge and the fishing banks 3, km north where the English, Portuguese and Bretons were active. Although Giovanni da Verrazzano sailed from North Carolina to Newfoundland in in French service, he stayed too far from shore to sight the strait separating Cape Breton from Newfoundland, and so remained ignorant of the Gulf of St Lawrence.
Jacques Cartier made three voyages to Canada in , —36 and — At the latter spot, 1, km into the continent, the Iroquois insisted that the river, now broken by rapids, stretched three months' travel to the west. For the first time, Europeans were given some idea of the vastness of the country.
He had now navigated both northern and southern entrances into the gulf, and had shown Newfoundland to be insular. The St Lawrence would, with its tributaries, enable the French to explore and dominate much of the northeast of the continent in the 17th century. He also discovered the Canadian winter, for in —36, frozen in at Stadacona, he lost almost a quarter of his men to the cold and scurvy.
Cartier's explorations show a close, if increasingly uneasy, relationship with the First Nations of the St Lawrence Valley. Around this time, the Iroquoians , so important in Canada's history, entered the journals and the consciousness of the French. While Cartier had not found the "great quantity of gold, and other precious things" mentioned in his instructions, he did locate the gulf's teeming fisheries and the mainland's furs, tempting Europe's commercial interests.
Similarly, like Cabot and Verrazzano, he did not reach the Pacific, but did find a route pointing straight west. For the remainder of the century the French and other Europeans continued to exploit the fisheries and the fur trade, but after Cartier the limits of French enterprise stopped at Tadoussac.
New explorations, which began in the s, were far to the north see Arctic Exploration , where the English, in particular, made repeated attempts along the icebound shores of the eastern Arctic to find a water route to the Pacific.
One effect of the search was that it opened up to European view, and eventual English domination, the great inland sea of Hudson Bay , which was explored by a series of expeditions culminating in those of Luke Fox and Thomas James — An alternative entry into the continent was essential if the English were to challenge the French because in the early 17th century the activities of Samuel de Champlain confirmed and extended Cartier 's claims.
The century began with a new departure — in the first European trading post in Canada was established at Tadoussac. In , Champlain followed Cartier's old route to Hochelaga , and also explored more of the Saguenay and Richelieu rivers. The next year he landed in Acadia , where he explored the Bay of Fundy , and in he established Port-Royal. Champlain's writings and his last map of show the extent of his explorations: a route north of the St Lawrence by way of the Saguenay and St Maurice rivers; a route from the St Lawrence to the Hudson River by way of Lake Champlain ; the exploration of much of the Acadian coastline, as well as suggestion of the Great Lakes — all this based on European exploration and First Nations knowledge.
For the explorations of the 40 years following Champlain's death in , the Jesuit Relations , i.
The missionaries' first concern was to record the life and, they hoped, the conversion of Aboriginal peoples, but their travels brought them a close knowledge of the land as well; and in the Relations there is telling detail of its rivers and forests, swamps and portages, its harsh winters and brief, insect-ridden summers.
For the first time, perhaps, the Canadian environment took shape and form for European readers. From their mission stations in Huronia , the Jesuits in the s reached as far west as Sault Ste Marie , while back on the St Lawrence they helped found a post at Ville-Marie , where the Ottawa River offered a new route to the west. Dominating the Jesuit reports were Aboriginal and missionary descriptions of Lake Superior , thought by some to be the gateway to the Pacific. The information from these scattered sources was brought together and given graphic form in the Jesuit map of the Great Lakes.
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Jesuit Relations also talk of the Coureurs de Bois , the rough outriders of French expansion and discovery, pushing westward in search of furs. The importance of Aboriginal peoples as guides and helpers emerges clearly in the French accounts. Europeans also observed and imitated Aboriginal methods of travel, such as the birchbark canoe in summer and the snowshoe in winter. In their wanderings, which took them as far as Lake Superior , they learned that many prime furs brought down to the French came from the Cree , who lived near "the Bay of the North Sea" Hudson Bay.
It marked the beginning of a year rivalry between the St Lawrence and the Hudson Bay approaches to the fur country, which in the end would take the competing traders, and with them the course of exploration, to the Pacific coast. Although the French in the s finally managed to cross the height of land from the St Lawrence to James Bay by way of the Saguenay River and Lake Mistassini , that tortuous route could never compete with Hudson Strait. By the s the new company not only had posts on the shores of James Bay, but had established York Factory at the mouths of the Nelson and Hayes rivers — waterways which led deep into the western interior.
As yet the Hudson Bay Company showed little interest in inland exploration, but from to one of its servants, Henry Kelsey , made a remarkable journey. Travelling with the Cree , he reached the Saskatchewan River , a busy waterway of Aboriginal trade, and from there the great plains, thick with herds of buffalo and populated by Aboriginal peoples, including Siouxan-speaking Assiniboine and Algonquian-speaking Blackfoot. To the north the prairie broke into wooded areas where moose , deer and beaver were plentiful — a lush region compared to the immediate hinterland of York Factory.
The key to Kelsey's achievement was his ability to speak Cree, and to live and travel with Aboriginal peoples. He was the first European to reach the Saskatchewan River and the Canadian prairies, the first to leave a description of the grizzly bear and bison. The Kelsey Papers , which detailed his journeys, were not discovered by historians until Aside from Kelsey, the only English interior explorations of any note from Hudson Bay were the ventures of William Stuart —16 and Richard Norton —18 northwestward among the Chipewyan.
In terms of exploring west of Lake Superior , in the latter half of the 17th century the French took the lead. Here the westward movement halted until the Treaty of Utrecht ended the prolonged Anglo-French wars in North America. The belief distorted all views of western Canada's geography because it could not coexist with a range of mountains running north—south — the Rockies did not appear on maps until late in the 18th century. Much of their exploration took place in what is now the US, but toward the end of the father's life he turned back to the north.
In one son, Louis-Joseph , reached the Saskatchewan River. Communications with Aboriginal peoples told him of "very lofty mountains" to the west, but geographers obsessed by inland seas, westward-flowing rivers and a nearby Pacific could not make sense of these assertions. Even though the French seemed poised to capture the northwestern fur trade, the Hudson Bay Company was slow to react.
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Attempts by the Admiralty , by private groups and, rather unenthusiastically, by the company, to find a strait on the west coast of Hudson Bay to the South Sea — the traditional English concept of the Northwest Passage — had petered out by the late s, but in the following decade the company began to move in different directions.
Of more significance, however, were probes deep inland from York Factory , of which Anthony Henday 's in —55 was the most successful. His method of travelling and his objectives were much the same as Kelsey's. Living with a Cree woman, Henday followed the Cree along their canoe route from York Factory to the lower Saskatchewan River , across its south and north branches, to the great buffalo herds of the plains and the Blackfoot people.
At his farthest west, somewhere near modern Innisfail , Alberta, Henday should have been within sight of the Rocky Mountains. In , James Cook and other naval surveyors published a chart of the St Lawrence. This work, combined with Cook's subsequent hydrographic surveys around Newfoundland , set a new standard, and brought a new precision to Europe's knowledge of the region.
Far to the west the Conquest led to the French abandoning interior posts, but the pause was brief.
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Once more the Hudson Bay Company reacted, if slowly, by sending its servants to and beyond the Saskatchewan River , notably Matthew Cocking in — In , the company established its first inland post at Cumberland House , km beyond The Pas , Manitoba. In command was Samuel Hearne. He had just returned from a journey with a Chipewyan band, having travelled from Fort Churchill down the Coppermine River to the shores of the Arctic Ocean, becoming the first European to sight the continent's northern coastline on 17 July Apart from Hearne, North West Company traders carried out the most extensive explorations.
The commercial struggle had begun, and would take the rival companies westward into Athabasca , across the Rockies and finally to the Pacific. As the traders battled westward, naval expeditions from Europe were also heading for the unknown Northwest Coast. Vitus Bering's Russian expedition of had made several landfalls along the Alaskan coast, but there was no southern approach until the s.