Term: Radisson, Pierre Esprit 1636 - 1710
(Note: birth date given in original as "ca. 1636.") explorer, b. in France, came to Canada in 1651, went to Three Rivers, Quebec, was captured by the Iroquois, escaped and joined an expedition in 1657 to establish a French settlement in the Onondaga country. With his brother-in-law, Sieur des Groseilliers (q.v.), he made an important western journey between 1659 and 1660, in which they skirted the southern shore of Lake Superior, explored Chequamegon Bay, visited Indian tribes, and recognized the possibilities of the rich inland fur trade. Having secured a large cargo of furs which was confiscated by the French governor because the expedition was unlicensed, they turned to the English. Radisson was active in establishing the Hudson's Bay Co. He rejoined the French in 1674, but switched back to the English in 1683. He wrote narratives of his voyages which vividly portray the natural beauty and primitive Indian life in the Northwest, but give conflicting evidence as to dates, routes of travel, and places visited.
View the following sources about Radisson and Groseilliers elsewhere on our site:
Kellogg, Louise Phelps, d. 1942 "The first traders in Wisconsin." Wisconsin Magazine Of History. vol. 5, no. 4 (1921-1922), pages 348-359.
Radisson's account of his third journey, 1654-1656, was published in Louise Kellogg's Early Narratives of the Northwest, 1634-1699 (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1917), pages 29-65.
His description of the fourth journey, 1659-1660, was published in Voyages of Peter Esprit Radisson, being an account of his travels and experiences among the North American Indians, from 1652 to 1684 (Boston : Prince Society, 1885) on pages 173-247.
[Source: Dict. Amer. Biog.; C. D. Scull, ed., Voyages of P. E. Radisson (Boston, 1885); G. L. Nute, Caesars of the Wilderness (New York ); L. P. Kellogg, French Regime in Wis. . . . (Madison, 1925).]