Antoine de Lamothe Cadillac
French colonizer, administrator, and fur trader

1658 - 1730

Antoine de Lamothe Cadillac was a French colonizer, administrator, and fur trader who founded Detroit. He also served as governor of the French colony of Louisiana.

Cadillac was born Antoine Laumet in Gascony, France. He falsely claimed to belong to the nobility, and he awarded himself a coat of arms and the title "de Lamothe Cadillac." In 1683, Cadillac arrived in Nova Scotia, where he served on a privateer (private warship) and traded for furs. From 1694 to 1697, he commanded Fort Michilimackinac (in what is now Michigan), the most important French outpost in the West.

In 1701, Cadillac founded Fort Pontchartrain at the site of present-day Detroit. He served as commandant there until 1710, when he was dismissed for incompetence and corruption. Cadillac was governor of Louisiana from 1711 until 1716, when he was recalled to France.

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