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Green Bay History
French Voyagers
Voyagers

The Beginning

In the 17th century, woodland Indians, French voyagers, fur trappers and Jesuit missionaries at one time or another traveled the historic water highway called the Fox River.

A natural stopping place for them was where the Fox emptied into the bay. This stopping place became Wisconsin’s first settlement.

The bay of Green Bay was shaped by a series of glaciers, which moved through the region thousands of years ago. Through time, a bay was formed which is presently 199 miles long and covers approximately 3,000 square miles.

Flock of Geese
Flock of geese

The river and bay were a vital link to all who lived on or near its shore. Each spring and fall, enormous flocks of geese, swans, canvasbacks and other waterfowl species would blacken the skies on their ancestral migratory flights. Fish could be heard splashing in the marshy edges of the bay. Wildlife thrived on the abundance of food and shelter. Indian villages were scattered along the bay. Here they caught fish, hunted, farmed and gathered food. The bay formed a natural barrier affording them protection from enemies.

Beaver Hunting
Beaver hunting

Archaeological findings establish the region as a seat of primitively sophisticated culture many centuries before the white man’s arrival. The dense woods were alive with bear and deer, wolf and raccoon. Thick furs, especially from bear and deer, provided protection from the long winter’s cold, and small water animals like beaver, and otter provided delicious meats as well as pelts. The bay’s water gave bountiful perch, bass, walleye and northern pike, whitefish, trout, musky and sturgeon.

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