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This Tour is a Driving or Biking Tour.

French History of Kansas City

Created by Charles Allen on July 28th 2022, 11:08:03 pm.

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Long before Kansas City was a bustling American midwestern metropolis, it was a colonial frontier claimed by the French crown as part of the Mississippi River’s drainage basin. The French used the vast territories under their nominal control to exploit natural resources for profit, namely fur. French traders traveled deep into the North American territories along the Mississippi and its tributaries in order to establish forts and trade posts to trade with Native American tribes who controlled the lands France claimed. This relationship where Native American lands claimed by France lasted from the mid-seventeenth century up to the mid-eighteenth century when France lost or sold all their claims to North American territory save for the small fishing settlements on the islands of St. Pierre et Miquelon. This historically significant French heritage of the region was researched and shared in the Kansas City area by the work of the Chouteau Society. Originally organized in 1984, this group of volunteers worked to preserve the memory of Missouri’s French past by placing a series of eleven markers around the Northern Kansas City area. Two of the markers are in Westport and not included on this tour in order to reduce the length of this tour, which was designed to offer both a concise introduction and a short drive. The markers on this trail feature both English and French inscriptions, and they cover various important topics and locations around Kansas City related to early French traders, settlers, and entrepreneurs. The Chouteau Society ceased operation in 2008, but thankfully, their work has continued through the work of the Jackson County Historical Society.