Journey into the Interior
Sent by the French crown, commandant general Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, established La Nouvelle-Orlans on the banks of the Mississippi river in 1718, negotiating with the native Chitimacha and facing epidemics, tribal wars, and foot shortages. Born in 1680 in Montreal, Bienville became a French naval cadet and joined his brother Pierre’s crew, Sieur d’Iberville, at 16. With Iberville, Bienville travelled the Mississippi Valley, trading with and learning from the Native Americans. Events of note include Bienville’s conflict with governor La Mothe Cadillac and Bienville’s negotiations with the Natchez royalty that ended with breaking ground at New Orleans. Due to conflicts with French officials, Bienville was recalled to Paris in 1723, and Company of the Indies took over New Orleans governance. Tensions arose between the settlers and Natchez, worsened by the actions of Étienne de Chépart, who was eventually killed in a Natchez attack. The new governor, Étienne Boucher de Périer, violently retaliated against the Native Americans, and Company of the Indies officials responded to its catastrophic losses by washing their hands of Louisiana. In 1732, the king sent Bienville back as governor.
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