Page:The story of geographical discovery.djvu/139

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135
TO THE INDIES NORTHWARDS.

fined itself. Between the French and the English settlements roved the warlike Five Nations of the Iroquois Indians, and Champlain, whose settlements were in the country of the Algonquins, was obliged to take their part and make the Iroquois the enemies of France, which had important effects upon the final struggle between England and France in the eighteenth century. The French continued their exploration of the interior of the continent. In 1673 Marquette discovered the Mississippi (Missi Sepe, "the great water"), and descended it as far as the mouth of the Arkansas, but the work of exploring the Mississippi valley was undertaken by Robert de la Salle. He had already discovered the Ohio and Illinois rivers, and in three expeditions, between 1680 and 1682, succeeded in working his way right down to the mouth of the Mississippi, giving to the huge tract of country which he had thus traversed the name of Louisiana, after Louis XIV.

France thenceforth claimed the whole hinterland, as we should now call it, of North America, the English being confined to the comparatively narrow strip of country east of the Alleghanies. New Orleans was founded at the mouth of the Mississippi in 1716, and named after the Prince Regent; and French activity ranged between Quebec and New Orleans, leaving many traces even to the present day, in French names like Mobile, Detroit, and the like, through the intervening country. The situation at the commencement of the eighteenth century was remarkably similar to that of the Gold Coast in Africa at the end of the nineteenth. The French persistently attempted to encroach upon the English sphere of influence, and it was in attempting to define