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The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture


A French explorer in central North America, Claude-Charles du Tisné was born in France circa 1688. He became a soldier and in 1705 was posted to Canada. In 1719 he was ordered to take a small company of men to explore the Illinois country and then to go southwestward across the Mississippi River into the plains, in order to try to open trade with Santa Fe, in Spanish-held New Mexico. Historians differ in their assessment of the exact route of his expedition in the summer of 1719. They agree that his line of travel brought the group into the plains directly west from the Mississippi River to an Osage village on the Osage River. By reading the expedition's reports and documents, Oklahoma historian Anna Lewis asserted that he led his men southwestward to the Verdigris River in present Oklahoma, to the site of an American Indian village, presumably of the Wichita, in the vicinity of present Chelsea or Vinita. Other scholars, notably archaeologists Mildred Mott Wedel and Waldo Wedel, read the records differently, arguing that the encounter with the Wichita took place near Neodesha, Kansas. The archaeological record, however, remains too sparse to allow a precise location of the site of the village or the explorer's route. Du Tisné's activities, and those of his fellow French explorer Jean Baptiste Bénard de la Harpe, also in 1719, paved the way for future exploration in the plains and encouraged competition between Spain and France for trade in the area. Leaving the plains, Du Tisné returned to the Illinois country, where he died in 1730.

Dianna Everett


William B. Lees, "Archeological Evidence for European contact with the Wichita in Kansas and Oklahoma: Paper Presented at the Plains Conference, 1990, Oklahoma City," at www.uwf.edu, accessed 24 September 2015.

Anna Lewis, "Du Tisné's Expedition into Oklahoma, 1719," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 3 (December 1925).

F. Todd Smith, The Wichita Indians: Traders of Texas and the Southern Plains, 1540–1845 (College Station, Tex.: Texas A&M University Press, 2000).

Mildred Mott Wedel, "Claude-Charles Dutisné: A Review of His 1719 Journeys, Part 2" Great Plains Journal 12 (Spring 1972).

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The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Dianna Everett, “Du Tisné, Claude-Charles,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=DU015.

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