François de La Vérendrye

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François de La Vérendrye (1715 – July 31, 1794) was the third son of Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, sieur de La Vérendrye. He was born at Sorel, New France in 1715 and was active in his father's trade activities from Fort Kaministiquia to the North Saskatchewan River.

In 1738 he was part of his father's expedition to Mandan country in what is now North Dakota. In 1739 he accompanied his brother, Louis-Joseph, and together they discovered the Saskatchewan River. In 1742-43, he and his brother traveled southwest through Mandan territory, probably reaching Wyoming and viewing the Rocky Mountains. They were the first Europeans to cross the northern Great Plains and reach the mountains. (See Verendrye Brothers' journey to the Rocky Mountains for details of the expedition.) Francois then returned east and served in the army during the Seven Years' War. He died on July 31, 1794 in Montreal.

He was one of two brothers to use the title "Chevalier" the other being Louis-Joseph. This causes some confusion when reading English translations of journals of the time. In 1762 he became known as the Sieur du Tremblay. With his death, the name La Vérendrye disappeared.

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References[edit]

  • Abbé I. Caron, Pierre Gaultier de Varennes de La Vérendrye et ses fils (Bull. rech. hist ., 1917) (translated)
  • W. Stewart Wallace, ed., The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. IV, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948

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