The French were the first Europeans to make contact with Native Americans, the first to govern the land that is now Illinois and the first to build forts here. France would dominate the continent’s interior until the end of the French and Indian War in 1763, when the French gave up their holdings east of the Mississippi River. These remnants of French culture have been preserved. Vive la France!

 

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11. Grand Village of the Illinois, site of the first Native American contact with French Europeans in what is now Illinois 

42. Cahokia Courthouse, built when Illinois was still a French territory

43. Jarrot Mansion, home of a French-born entrepreneur and militia officer

44. Martin Boismenue House, one of Illinois’ oldest surviving homes

45. Fort de Chartres, French seat of government in the Illinois country

46. Fort Kaskaskia, built to protect an important commercial center for the French

47. Pierre Menard Home, home to a French-Canadian businessman who became Illinois’ first lieutenant governor

48. Kaskaskia Bell, given to French settlers of Kaskaskia by the French King and known as the Liberty Bell of the West