Cadillac, Antoine de la Mothe

Cadillac, Antoine de la Mothe

(Fr. äNtwän` də lä môt kädēyäk`), c.1658–1730, French colonial governor in North America, founder of Detroit. Of the minor Gascon nobility, he came to America in 1683 to seek his fortune and lived for a time at Port Royal (now Annapolis Royal, N.S.) and then on a grant of land in present-day Maine. He became a favorite of FrontenacFrontenac, Louis de Buade, comte de Palluau et de
, 1620–98, French governor of New France. His early military career was spent in service in the Low Countries, Italy, and Germany.
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, the governor of New France, and in 1694 he was placed in charge of the frontier post at MackinacMackinac
, historic region of the Old Northwest (see Northwest Territory), a shortening of Michilimackinac. The name, in the past, was variously applied to different areas: to Mackinac Island; to Michigan; to the whole fur-trading region supplied from the island; to the northern
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. In 1699, Cadillac went to France to urge establishment of a post on the Detroit River, which he believed would offer a better strategic position against the English than Mackinac. Receiving a grant of land, trade privileges, and command of the new post, he set out with a band of colonists. Detroit was founded in 1701. Cadillac persuaded many Native Americans to settle near the new colony. In 1711 he was appointed to the governorship of the vast territory of Louisiana. He reached his new post in 1713 to begin an administration that was remarkable only for the frequency and fierceness of internal quarrels. He was recalled in 1716 and spent his last years in Gascony.

Bibliography

See biography by A. C. Laut (1931).

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