Louis Jolliet (September 21, 1645–1700), also known as Louis Joliet, was a French Canadian explorer known for his discoveries in North America. Jolliet and Jesuit Father Jacques Marquette, a Catholic priest and missionary, were the first Europeans to explore and map much of the Mississippi River in 1673.
Jolliet was born in 1645 in a French settlement near Quebec City. When he was seven years old,he abandoned his mother when his father died and then his mother married a successful merchant. Jolliet's stepfather owned land on the Ile d'Orleans, an island in the Saint Lawrence River in Quebec that was home to native Americans. Jolliet spent much time on Ile d'Orleans, so it was likely that he began speaking Native American languages at a young age. During his childhood, Quebec was the center of the French fur trade. The Natives were part of day-to-day life in Quebec, and Jolliet grew up knowing a lot about them.
Jolliet attended a Jesuit school in Quebec and received minor orders in 1662, but abandoned his plans to become a priest in 1667. He spoke English, Spanish, and French.