The Era of Exploration & Survey
Étienne Brûlé is the first European arrival in Wisconsin (likely 1621-1623) whose name is known, and it isn’t certain that his trip around Lake Superior, beginning on the north shore, actuallygot him to present day Wisconsin. Of course, there were explorers, trappers, and traders in the area, but their names are lost and there is no historical record. Likewise, although Brûlé is an historical figure, there is no historical record of his possible visit to Wisconsin. [Smith, History of Wisconsin Vol. 1, pp. 6-7]
It is likely that the next European whose name is known to us to visit Wisconsin is Jean Nicolet who probably visited Green Bay in 1634. Details of his extensive trip are not available, so we have to live with, “it is likely” that he reached Green Bay. . [Smith, pp. 8-9]
The first explorer for which historical records exist is Mêdard Chouart Des Groseilliers whose trip in 1654 is documented. He returned in 1659 with his young brother-in-law, Pierre-Esprit Radisson. The records of these expeditions form the first historical record of European exploration of Wisconsin. [Smith, pp. 16-17]
Radisson and Groseilliers were the first Europeans of historical record to visit Chequamegon, the point of land that almost closes Chequamegon Bay, leaving the northern point of Wisconsin north of Odanah and heading toward Madeline Island. [Burnham, pp. 11-12] For about the next one hundred years Chequamegon [Point] with the center of administration, commerce, and activity on the south shore of Lake Superior. Burnham notes (pages 1-2) that roads went from Chequamegon west to present day L’Anse, Michigan; south to Lac du Flambeau; southwest to Lac Court Orielles and the Mississippi; and west to the head of Lake Superior. There is no indication that the road to Lac du Flambeau went further. The road serviced the fur trading activities at Lac du Flambeau. This is the first intrusion of Europeans into the present day Vilas County area, though certainly unknown European explorers and traders moved through the area.
[There is much more to be written.]
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While it had no effect on life in this area, or for that matter in any of the area in question, it is worth noting that in King George's Proclamation of 1763 the area bounded by the Alleghanies, the Mississippi, the Great Lakes, and the Gulf of Mexico (which includes all of present day Wisconsin), was set aside as an Indian Reserve, and settlers in the area should "forthwith remove themselves." [Ogg, pp. 24-25]
Part of Quebec
The Quebec Act of 1774 provided that the territory north of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi would be part of Quebec. Again, this had no impact on the area of Wisconsin