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June 15th, 1669 - First sighting of Lake Erie

It was June 15, 1669 and a French explorer by the name of Louis Jolliet would become the first documented European to find and explore Lake Erie.

Long before the summer Louis Jolliet found the lake, it was inhabited by a few small Native American tribes that lived off various parts of the the lake. The Erie tribe and the Attawandaron tribe were two of the peaceful or “neutral” tribes in the area. The Europeans were very familiar with both tribes and knew they refused to practice violence. Quite some time later, the lake was given its name, “Lake Erie” after the Erie tribe. “Erie” originally comes from the shortened version of “erielhonan”, an Iroquoian word that means “long tail”.

Though Jolliet was the first known European to explorer Lake Erie, his efforts were limited and many others would come to explore the region over the years.

Louis Jolliet

After Jolliet’s explorations on Lake Erie, he headed south for his next adventure to explore the Mississippi river. Over the years he continued to explore North America and eventually spent his later years further north in Canada.


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