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 Louis (Father Jean Louis) Hennepin  (1640 - 1705)



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Lived/Active: New York / France/Belgium      Known for: first sketch Niagara Falls

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The first person to record in writing and sketching the region of Niagara including Niagara Falls, Father Jean Louis Hennepin was a Roman Catholic priest and missionary who arrived from France in 1679 and became the first known white man to see Niagara Falls. He did a sketch of the Falls while traveling with LaSalle to explore Lake Ontario and the Niagara River.

During the same exploration, the La Salle expedition discovered for westerners the mouth of the Mississippi River

Jean Louis Hennepin was born in Ath, Belgium about 1627, and in his youth entered a Recollet friary. He had an adventurous spirit and traveled widely in Europe. He signed on as an army chaplain of Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle's Mississippi River expedition. From this trip Hennepin wrote a book, "Description de la Louisiane", which was published in Europe in 1682 after his return. The work had widespread popularity and contained the first descriptions of Niagara and other geography and events of the period. Some scholars cite inaccuracies.


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