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Explorer, interpreter, fur trader and official mediator, Nicolas Perrot (born in Burgundy, Cote d'Or, about 1643 - Becancour, Quebec, Canada, 1717), undertook many trips to the western frontier of New France between 1660 and 1696.

In the Spring of 1671, we find him at Sault-Sainte-Marie, serving as interpreter alongside Daumont de Saint-Lusson, whose mission it was to take possession of the Western Lands in the name of French Crown.

Given the title "commander of that region" in 1685 to ensure the participation of the western peoples in the war against the Iroquois and the English, he would travel back and forth for several years along the rivers of Wisconsin and on the Mississippi, and erect new forts and fur trading posts. In 1697, he finally came home to his concession in Becancour to stay.

He had great influence over the western indian tribes and they would often call on him to mediate. It is for this reason that he served as interpreter during the negotiations which led to the Great Peace in Montreal in 1701. A perceptive observer, he has left us a memoire ("Moeurs, coutumes et religion des Sauvages de l'Amérique septentrionale") and numerous descendants.

One of his trading posts was unearthed near Trempealeau, Wisconsin. The site is now part of the Perrot State Park.

Selected topics :

a path in Perrot State Park - source: www.flickr.com - photo by coffeefreak5
Perrot State Park
Oconto inscription on the fieldstone marker
Oconto, WI marker inscription

Many sites attest to the passage of Nicolas. (n.b. some photos will get larger if you click on them)

  • Clergue Park, Sault-Sainte-Marie, ON - commemorative plaque of the taking possession of the West in 1671
  • Mackinac Island, Michigan - a plaque below the statue of Father Marquette, mentioning, among other explorers, Nicolas Perrot
  • St Ignace, Michigan - marking the spot where French explorers would come ashore near Father Marquette's mission
  • Green Bay, Wisconsin - statue of Nicolas with Father Jean-Claude Allouez and a Fox indian
  • Oconto, Wisconsin - fieldstone marker of site where Nicolas mediated a dispute between Menominee and Potawatomi in 1668 (Google photo)
  • De Pere (Rapides des Pères), Wisconsin - Voyageur Park marker near the site of the St Francois Xavier mission
  • Fort St Antoine marker on the shore of Lake Pepin, Wisconsin
  • Perrot State Park marker, Trempealeau, Wisconsin
  • Trois-Rivieres, Quebec - listed on the monument to Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, sieur de La Vérendrye, among others
  • Becancour, Quebec - monument next to the church (Nativité-de-la-Bienheureuse-Vierge-Marie parish)
  • Nicolas-Perrot community hall in the village of Bécancour

Reading list

New critiqued edition of the memoire by Nicolas by Pierre Berthiaume 2005 » Bibliothèque du Nouveau Monde
(French only) cover of book by Nicolas, critiqued edition by Pierre Berthiaume
"The Great Peace : Chronicle of a diplomatic saga" by Alain Beaulieu and Roland Viau 2001 book cover : The Great Peace by Alain Beaulieu and Roland Viau
"Adventurers in the New World : saga of the coureurs des bois" by Georges-Hébert Germain 2003
book cover : Adventurers in the New World, the saga of the coureurs des bois, by Georges-Hébert Germain