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First Contact between European and Great Lakes Native People

Between 1534 and 1542, Jacques Cartier explored the St. Lawrence river, and afterwards established the city of Quebec, and the colony of New France. While this is the first recorded contact between European and Native people in the Great Lakes Area, trade and interaction between the groups had occurred in northeastern Canada some few years previous to Cartier’s expeditions. The French, Algonkin, and Huron were quick to establish alliances.

Étienne Brûlé, a European explorer, is credited as the first European to set foot in Michigan, in approximately 1621, landing at Sault St. Marie.