Charles Michel de Langlade

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Charles Michel de Langlade (9 May 1729 – after 26 July 1801)[1] (Ottawa) was a Great Lakes fur trader and war chief who was important to the French in protecting their territory. His mother was Ottawa and his father a French Canadian fur trader.[2]

Fluent in Ottawa and French, Langlade later led First Nations forces in warfare in the region, at various times allied with the French, British and later Americans. Leading French and Indian forces, in 1752 he destroyed Pickawillany, a Miami village and British trading post in present-day Ohio, where the British and French were competing for control. During the subsequent Seven Years' War, he helped defend Fort Duquesne (Pittsburgh) against the British. He was named second in command at Fort Michilimackinac and a captain in the Indian Department of French Canada.

After the defeat of the French in North America, Langlade became allied with the British, who took control of former French possessions and took the lead in the fur trade. During the American Revolutionary War, Langlade led Great Lakes Indians for the British against the rebel colonists and their Indian allies. At the end of the war, he retired to his home in present-day Green Bay, Wisconsin. Due to his having had a trading post at Green Bay since 1745 and later settling there,[citation needed] he is called the "Father of Wisconsin."

Early life and education

Charles de Langlade was born in 1729 at Fort Michilimackinac, New France to Domitilde,[3] a sister of the Ottawa war chief Nissowaquet, and daughter of another Ottawa chief. Her husband was Augustin Langlade (Augustin Mouet, sieur de Langlade), a French-Canadian fur trader. She was a widow with six children when they married in 1728; he believed their marriage would provide him an advantage in the fur trade. The Ottawa were among the Anishinaabeg peoples, who inhabited areas around the Great Lakes. As a child, Langlade grew up with Ottawa as his first language and identified with his mother's culture; he was also educated in French by Jesuit missionaries at the fort.


In 1745, Augustin Langlade and his 16-year-old son Charles established a trading post at present-day Green Bay, Wisconsin.[citation needed]

On 21 June 1752, Charles Langlade led the Raid on Pickawillany, destroying the Miami village and British fortifications. The conflict contributed to the battles in North America of the French and Indian War (also known as the Seven Years' War, as it was part of the European conflict.) In 1755, he led a group from the Three Fires confederacy in the defense of Fort Duquesne (later Pittsburgh), where the French and Indians triumphed over the British Edward Braddock and George Washington at the Battle of the Monongahela. He also took part in the Siege of Fort William Henry, and later he led a group of Ottawa warriors at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in the defense of Quebec.

In 1757, Langlade was made the second in command of the French forces at Fort Michilimackinac. Langlade surrendered the French forces at that fort to the British army in 1761. Following the war and victory of Great Britain, Langlade transferred his allegiance to that country after it took control of French areas. The following year he permanently moved to (present day) Green Bay, Wisconsin.

During the American Revolutionary War, Langlade led Great Lakes Indians as an ally of the British commanders in Canada; he was promoted to captain in the Indian Department. At the end of that war, Langlade returned to his home at Green Bay, then considered to be in the United States' Northwest Territory. He resided there until his death some time in the second half of 1801.

Legacy and honors

  • Langlade is remembered as the "Father of Wisconsin".[4]
  • Langlade County, Wisconsin is named after him.[4]
  • The seal of the Langlade County Historical Society bears an image of Langlade, designed by his descendant, "noted sculptor" Sidney Bedore.[5]


  1. Dictionnaire Généalogique Tanguay
  2. Michillimakinac was in the Canadian Pays d'en haut. Langlade was born at Fort Michilimackinac, New France, which was in the Canadian Pays d'en haut. His mother was Ottawa and his father a French-Canadian fur trader. He grew up with his mother's people and identified as Ottawa.
  3. Dictionnaire Généalogique Tanguay
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Langlade, Charles Michel 1729 - 1801", Dictionary of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Historical Society, accessed 26 March 2012
  5. "Photograph: Langlade County Historical Society Seal", Wisconsin Historical Society, Image ID: 3774, Creation Date: 1933-06-01, Creator: N/A. Viewed online at,Ro:0,N:4294963828-4294955414&dsNavOnly=Ntk:All%7C%7C3%7C%2c&dsRecordDetails=R:IM3774&dsDimensionSearch=D:Charles+Langlade,Dxm:All,Dxp:3&dsCompoundDimensionSearch=D:Charles+Langlade,Dxm:All,Dxp:3

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