Jean Nicolet

Jean Nicolet ( Nicollet also; * about 1598 probably in Cherbourg, France, † October 27, 1642 in Sillery (Québec ), Canada ) was a French explorer.

Nicolet was the first European who discovered Lake Michigan. He also explored the area which forms the U.S. state of Wisconsin today.

Nicolet, a supporter of the Ancien Régime, came in 1618 as an employee of the Compagnie des Marchands, a trading company of the French aristocracy, to Quebec. He was sent to the Algonquian, to live with them and learn their language. The Algonkian were friends with the French and settled along the fur trade route at Ottawa.

From 1620 he lived on Lake Nipissing, where he lived for eight years with Nipissing Indians. He ran a business and traded with the various indigenous peoples.

After the city of Quebec had been taken on 19 July 1629 by the British, he withdrew into Huronenland, from where he pursued pro-French interests until the French rule was established over Quebec again.

1642 Nicolet was tragically killed. His boat came on the St. Lawrence River at Sillery into swirls and fell - Nicolet could not swim. His body was not found.

The town of Nicolet (Québec) in Canada is named after him.