Jacques Marquette (1637-1675), a French Jesuit Father, and French-Canadian explorer Louis Jolliet (1645 - 1700) explored the Mississippi river as far south as the mouth of the Arkansas River in 1673. They were the first colonialists to map the northern portion of the Mississippi River.
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Editors. "Francais Jacques Marquette explores the Mississippi". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 December 2011
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=2627, accessed 20 August 2017.]