Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, sieur de La Vérendrye
Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, sieur de La Vérendrye (
November 17, 1685– December 5, 1749) was a French Canadianmilitary officer, fur trader and explorer.
Born in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, he was the youngest son of
René Gaultier de Varennesand Marie Boucher, the daughter of Pierre Boucher, the first Governor of Trois-Rivières. The Gaultier were part of the Ancien Régimewhose family of aristocrats came from the Anjouarea of France.
Pierre was educated at a Jesuit seminary in Quebec, but from the age of 14 received a cadet’s commission in the colonial militia. In 1704 and 1705 he took part in the armed struggle known as
Queen Anne's Warin the United States.
At 22 years of age, he enlisted in the French Army, fought in
Flandersduring the War of the Spanish Successionand was seriously wounded. After recovering from his injuries and being released as a prisoner of war, he returned to Canada and married in 1712. He farmed and fur traded to support his family until 1727 when he moved to Nipigon to command that fort.
In 1728 he was appointed commandant of the French posts, including
Fort Kaministiquia, (present day Thunder Bay, Ontario), on the north shore of Lake Superior. It was during this time as commandant that La Vérendrye came to know Creeguide Auchagah, who produced a map of canoe routes between Lake Superior and Lake Winnipegbased on his own experience as well as that of several other Crees. [ [http://www.newberry.org/smith/exhibits/mapsnations/exhibit1999.html] The Newberry Library]
In 1731 he began his explorations in earnest. One of the main objectives was to find a route to the Western Sea. Between 1731 and 1737 he built several trading posts between Lake Superior and
Lake Winnipeg, assisted by his four sons and a nephew. In 1732 Fort St. Charleswas constructed near Angle Inleton Lake of the Woods. This fort was an important base of operations until at least 1760 because of the fur trade and its location between Montrealand forts farther west. These were the first European establishments west of Lake Superior since Jacques de Noyonwintered over at Rainy Lakein 1688.
In 1738 he travelled with
Assiniboineguides southwest to the area of the Missouri Riverin what is now North Dakota. There he was introduced to the Mantannes ( Mandans), a Siouxan agricultural people living in permanent villages along the Missouri. In conjunction with that trip he established two forts, Fort Rouge and Fort La Reine, in what is now Manitoba. Two of his sons explored the area southwest of the Mantannes, reaching the Big Horn Mountains, the Black Hillsand returning to the Missouri by Pierre, South Dakota. Other forts built to the north and west by people under his command created a large area in the west for French traders. It may have been on this trip that he found the alleged Vérendrye Runestone.
He resigned as commander of the Western Posts in 1744 after being unable to convince his superiors that further exploration of rivers like the Saskatchewan would lead them to rivers flowing west into the Western Sea. In 1746 he again became the western commander. In this capacity, he returned to the east in 1747. While planning further exploration of the
Saskatchewan Riverand points west, he died at Montreal, Quebec on December 5, 1749.
La Verendrye Provincial Parkin Ontario and La Vérendrye Wildlife Reservein Quebec are named after him, as well as Verendrye Electric Cooperativein North Dakota.
French colonization of the Americas
History of North Dakota
Christopher Dufrost de La Jemeraye
François de La Vérendrye
Jean Baptiste de La Vérendrye
Louis-Joseph Gaultier de La Vérendrye
Pierre Gaultier de La Vérendrye
* [http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=1366 Biography at the "Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online"]
* [http://www.mhs.mb.ca/ Manitoba Historical Society - Various writings by Father Antoine Champagne]
Newberry Library[http://www.newberry.org/smith/exhibits/mapsnations/exhibit1999.html Maps and Nations Exhibit, 1999]
* [http://www.collectionscanada.ca/explorers/h24-1530-e.html The La Vérendryes: Family of Explorers] , Library and Archives Canada
*CathEncy|wstitle=Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, Sieur de Lavérendrye
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