Jean Nicolet at Red Banks, Wisconsin

         Red Banks Historical Marker
The following text appears on a historical marker near the statue of Nicolet, the first European to visit the western shores of the Great Lakes:
Many of the explorers who came here were more interested in finding an easy route to Asia than they were in exploring and settling this continent. In 1634 Jean Nicolet, emissary of Gov. Samuel de Champlain of New France, landed at Red Banks on the shore of Green Bay about a mile west of here. His mission was to arrange peace with the "People of the Sea" and to ally them with France. Nicolet half expected to meet Asiatics on his voyage and had with him an elaborate Oriental robe which he put on before landing. The Winnebago Indians who met him were more impressed with the "thunder" he carried in both hands as he stepped ashore firing his pistols. Nicolet reported to his superiors that he was entertained with "sixscore beavers" being served at one banquet, but it was the pelts and not the flesh of the beaver that were to be highly prozed by those who followed him.

Photos by Tim Sullivan

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page added: July 16, 1997, revised, August 6, 1998