Monday, July 24, 2006

Happy Birthday, Detroit!

It was 305 years ago today that French-explorer Antoine Laumet de la Mothe Cadillac founded present-day Detroit.

On June 4, 1701, Cadillac - who sought to protect the area around Lake Erie from British invasion - set sail for 'le D├ętroit' (the strait) with about 100 other men.

Their mission? To build a strategic fort to protect the interests of New France.

Detroit River near GM

Arriving on the Detroit River on July 23, 1701, Cadillac and his crew camped for a night near what is now known as Grosse Ile.

The following day, July 24, the group headed north along the river, scanning the banks for the most strategic location to construct a fort.

Cadillac's spot of choice, a little more than 192 square feet, was located south of present-day Jefferson Avenue, near the current streets of Shelby and Griswold.

The settlement -
'Fort Pontchartrain du Detroit' - was named in honor of the Comte de Ponchartrain, who, at the time, served as Louis XIV's Minister of Marine.

Ambassador Bridge

For more information on early-life in Detroit or history of the city from 1701-2001, please visit
History Detroit.

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