La Salle Project: Chronology of Events

1671-1681   La Salle explores the Great Lakes and Midwest regions.
1682 April Heading south on the Mississippi, La Salle reaches its mouth and claims half of the continent for France on behalf of Louis XIV. He later returns to Illinois.
  November La Salle sails for France to gather royal support for his plan to reach the Mississippi from the Gulf of Mexico and to start a permanent settlement.
1684 August 300 people depart France aboard L'Aimable, La Belle, Le Joly and Saint Francois.
  September Fleet arrives at Santo Domingo; Saint Francois seized by pirates some days earlier.
  November Three remaining ships sail toward the presumed mouth of the Mississippi.
1685 February La Belle safely enters Matagorda Bay; L'Aimable runs aground entering a channel.
  March Le Joly leaves for France. About 180 people stay to found the colony. La Salle sets out with 52 men in 5 canoes to find a suitable site for a permanent settlement.
  April Construction of Fort St. Louis begins.
  July Joutel's contingent, which stayed at the island camp, reaches Fort St. Louis on La Belle.
  October La Salle and 50 men go in canoes to search for the mouth of the Mississippi. La Belle follows with 37 men. No contact between the two groups for a month.
  December Land party finds La Belle's Captain Richaud and his men murdered in their sleep.
1686 January La Salle leaves La Belle again to explore by land. La Belle is wrecked in a storm.
  March La Salle reaches anchorage. La Belle is not there. He returns to Fort St. Louis.
  May After spending 3 months on Matagorda Peninsula, 6 survivors from La Belle reach Fort St. Louis by canoe. She had run aground shortly after La Salle's departure.
1687 January La Salle leaves for Illinois with 17 men, leaving 20 people behind at the fort.
  March La Salle is assassinated near Navasota.
  April Spanish expedition of Rivas and Iriarte finds the remains of La Belle.
1688 January With colonists weakened by smallpox, Indians capture Fort St. Louis
1995   Location of La Belle confirmed by J. Barto Arnold.
1996   Cofferdam is constructed around the shipwreck and excavation begins.
1997 May Excavations concluded. Artifacts and hull remains are sent to Conservation Research Laboratory.
1999 October Construction of wood conservation vat completed. Reassembly of hull begins.
  April Construction of two 1/12th scale models of La Belle begins.
2001   Reassembly of La Belle completed. Construction of scale models completed.
2002   Conservation begins.
2006   La Belle will go on display at the new Bob Bullock Museum in Austin.