Early Detroit: 1701-1760

Early Detroit: 1701-1760

Detroit was founded July 24, 1701, by Antoine de Lamothe Cadillac, who landed in this vicinity on that date. With him were one hundred Frenchmen and a like number of Indians. Cadillac took possession of the land in the name of Louis XIV. Here was built Fort Pontchartrain to prevent English traders from using the water route to the upper Great Lakes. The site was on the peninsula between the Detroit River and Savoyard Creek. Huron, Ottawa and Potawatomi Indians accepted the invitation of Cadillac to settle near the fort. Detroit he wished to develop as an agricultural settlement. Mesdames Cadillac and de Tonty arrived later in 1701. Other families followed them. After Cadillac's removal in 1710, Detroit's growth was retarded for many years. In 1712 the French and their Indian allies fought and destroyed a band of Fox Indians] camped north of the fort. The French crown encouraged the development of the colony in the 1740s by offering seed, livestock and farm equipment to settlers. The fort was enlarged in the 1750s. Detroit then had a French population of about one thousand, and farms lined the river above and below the fort as well as across the river.

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