University of Illinois Extension

Jolliet and Marquette

The explorers went down the Mississippi and realized it was flowing south. They decided it probably flowed into the Gulf of Mexico, rather than the Pacific Ocean. Along the way, they met many friendly Indians. But when they got to the mouth of the Arkansas River, they found hostile Indians. They learned from a friendly Indian that white people lived farther south on the river. The explorers realized these people must be Spaniards who had settled along the Gulf of Mexico. They feared they might be attacked and so turned around.