• UNIT- Local History Component
    Title:  Fort Repentigny
    Focus:  The French built forts in the Great Lakes region to protect thier interest in the fur trade.

    Connection: Remember when we discussed the importance of the Chippewa in the fur trade and the conflict that developed between the French and the British.

    Teaching Point: Between 1750-1752 the Chevalier de Repentigny built an enclosed fort at Sault Ste. Marie to protect the area for the French.

    a.  Due to fighting between the French and English many Saulteurs & missionaries  left  the area.

    b.  King Louis XV of France gave the land to two French soldiers to build a fort here  (1750).

    c.   Fort Repentigny was built in 1751 for protection against the English and to supply the  fur traders.

    Resource Material:  The record of activity at the Sault between 1700 and 1750 is quite thin. When Antoine Cadillac founded Detroit in 1701, he managed to attract many Chippewas from the straits area, as well as from the Sault, to migrate to Detroit for trading. Stanley Newton indicates in The Story of Sault Ste. Marie (Sault News Printing Company, 1923) that when the French Canadian explorer La Verendrye and his sons passed through the Sault in 1731, on their way to western Canada, they reported only a few Chippewas living here, and no Frenchmen. Mackinac Island was of diminished importance, but still had much more activity than the Sault. The English were given control over the Hudson’s Bay territory in the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713, and as the conflict between the French and English developed over the interior of North America, King Louis XV of France granted a cession of land at the Sault rapids to two officers at Fort Mackinac — Messrs de Bonne and de Repentigny (pronounced rep-on-TEEN-yee). The purpose of the land grant (which amounted to over 300 square miles, with perhaps 20 miles of river frontage, including the shore of the rapids) was to get the landholders to build a fort for the protection of French fur traders, and to keep the local Chippewas trading with the French, instead of going north to trade with the English. Farming was also to be started, so animals and equipment were brought up from Mackinac Island.

                Both of the French officers wound up fighting the British in Quebec during the French and Indian War. De Bonne was killed, but de Repentigny survived. He could have retained the land if he agreed to become a British citizen, but he refused to do so. His career took him to the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, and then to Senegal, West Africa. He died in Paris in 1786. The ultimate disposition of title to the land was disputed by heirs of both officers, and was not resolved until 1867, in the U.S. Supreme Court. See City of the Rapids, pp. 42-44.


    Active Engagement: Color Book with descriptive text found on pages 12-13student pages.

    Share: With a partner summarize why the French needed to protect their fur trade relationship with the Chippewa.  How did the conflict between the French and English lead to the French and Indian War?

Last Modified on February 14, 2018