Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
January 2005

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia



Jean Nicolet



Nicolet, Jean (1598?-1642), explorer, was born at Cherbourg, France, about 1598, the son of Thomas Nicolet and Marguerite Delamer. He came to Canada in 1618 in the service of the fur-trading company, and immediately on his arrival, was sent to l'Ile des Allumettes to learn the Algonquin language, and here he spent two years. The next eight or nine years were spent among the Nipissings. After the capture of Quebec in 1629, Nicolet remained loyal to the French, and returned to the country of the Nipissings, where he stayed until July, 1633. He was then recalled to Quebec, and became clerk and interpreter of the Company of One Hundred Associates. In 1634, under Champlain's instructions, he explored lake Michigan as far as Green bay, ascended Green bay and Fox river to an Indian village west of lake Winnebago, and made a treaty, of peace with the tribes. In October, 1642, he was named commis général of the Company of One Hundred Associates during the absence of Le Tardif. A month later, he was drowned while hastening to Three Rivers to prevent the death of a captive, belonging to a tribe in alliance with the Iroquois, whom the Algonquins were torturing. He married on October 7, 1642, Marguerite Couillard, by whom he had one daughter. See A. Gosselin, Jean Nicolet et le Canada de son temps (Quebec, 1905); B. Sulte, Jean Nicolet et la découverte du Wisconsin (Revue canadienne, 1910); and C. W. Butterfield, History of the discovery of the North-West by John Nicolet in 1634, with a sketch of his life (Cincinnati, 1881).

Source: W. Stewart WALLACE., ed., The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. V, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 401p., p. 7.


© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College