Introduction Continued

Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville

.-Therese, Infanta of Spain, the half-sister of King Charles II of Spain -- the man who controlled most of the New World's wealthiest colonies.

The colonists were, of course, preceded by explorers. In 1682, the French explorer Rene-Robert Cavalier Sieur de la Salle came down the Mississippi River and arrived at a site about 90 miles (145 km) below New Orleans and proclaimed the area drained by the river a possession of the French king.

La Salle was followed by two French Quebec-born brothers, Sieur d'Iberville (Pierre le Moyne) and Sieur de Bienville (Jean Baptiste de Moyne), who sailed into the Caribbean and landed at what is now Ocean Springs, Mississippi and landed at a point near a tiny bayou.

They named it Pointe du Mardi Gras, as the Catholic holiday ("Fat Tuesday") was to fall on March 3 that year. In the autumn of 1699, two British ships also found the mouth of the river, but the two brothers from Quebec were able to convince them that they were in wrong pew.

To commemorate the event, the spot in the river where the Brits turned back is still called English Turn. (Today, English Turn is the name of one of the city's finest golf courses.)

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