When Was Niagara Falls Discovered?

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The discovery of Niagara Falls is commonly attributed to a French priest, Father Louis Hennepin, who traveled there in 1678 was the first European to document them. Native Americans living in the region were likely the falls' original discoverers.

Father Hennepin was part of a 1678 expedition that traveled to Niagara Falls. After returning to France, Hennepin published an account of his travels in "A New Discovery." The book brought Niagara Falls to the western world's attention, inspiring further exploration of the region.

While Hennepin is given the honor for the discovery of Niagara Falls, Frenchman Samuel de Champlain visited the area as early as 1604 during his exploration of Canada. His journals describe the spectacular waterfalls that his party described to him. There is also some evidence the French Jesuit Father Paul Ragueneau visited the falls in 1643 while working among the Hurons in Canada.