The People of the Three Fires (1600-1699)

  • 1600: Around 100,000 people live in five tribes in Michigan: Potawatomi, Ottawa, Ojibwa/Chippewa, Miami, and Huron. The Potawatomi, Ottawa and Ojibwa speak similar Algonquin languages and are known as the “People of the Three Fires”.
  • 1607: The English settle in Jamestown, Virginia, making it the first permanent English settlement in present day America.
  • 1609: Henry Hudson sails into upstate New York and claims the land for the Netherlands.
  • 1609: Spaniard Pedro de Peralta establishes the settlement of Santa Fe in present day New Mexico.
  • 1618: Samuel de Champlain, who founded Quebec, sends Etienne Brule on an exploring mission.  He is considered the first European to set foot in Michigan.
  • 1620: The Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts is established.
  • 1625: The Dutch settle in present day New York City and call their colony New Netherlands.
  • 1630: Samuel De Champlain sends Jean Nicolet to find a passage to China.  He passes through the Straits of Mackinac and explores the shores of Lake Michigan.
  • 1650-1700: European diseases have a powerful effect on Native Americans. As many as half of Michigan's first people die from disease in the 17th century.
  • 1664: The English seize Dutch New Netherlands and rename the colony New York.
  • 1668: French missionaries first settle in Sault Saint Marie.
  • 1669: French explorer Adrien Joliet and an Iroquois guide travel from the St. Mary's River down Lake Huron and camp at present day Detroit.
  • 1671: French missionaries first settle at Saint Ignace.
  • 1679: August 10. French explorer Robert La Salle sails his ship, the Griffon, past Detroit on his way north to find a route to China.
  • 1680: La Salle explores the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, crossing from present day Muskegon to present day Detroit, becoming the first European to travel the interior of Michigan.
  • 1680: The French build forts near present day St. Joseph and present day Port Huron.
  • 1682: La Salle explores the entire Mississippi River and claims Louisiana for France.
  • 1698: The Spanish establish a settlement in present day Pensacola, Florida.
  • 1699: The French settle New Orleans, Louisiana.