Sources of information about Robert de La Salle include About.com and the Canadian Museum of History website. La Salle, born René-Robert Cavelier Sieur de La Salle in 1643, explored North America for France, including Louisiana and the Mississippi River Basin, both of which he claimed for his native land.
La Salle's family name was Cavelier; Sieur de La Salle is a title that translates to Lord of La Salle, the name of an estate the explorer's family owned near his birthplace in Normandy. La Salle left the Jesuit religious order before taking final vows, traveled to the then-French colony in Canada, and began his life as an explorer. His expeditions also took him to what are now the U.S. Midwest and Texas, where he established an unsuccessful colony.