But La Salle's final adventure reads like a thriller. Mutiny, pirates, and hapless orienteering plagued the expedition from the get-go, landing La Salle's men and his charge—a group of colonists—at Matagorda Bay where they attempted to survive in misery. His ships suffered as well, with the last, La Belle, wrecked off the Matagorda peninsula in a squall.
Leaving the colonists to fend for themselves, La Salle headed north with a small expedition only to be ambushed and murdered by one of his men, Pierre Duhaut. Most of the remaining colonists fared no better. Men and women were killed by the local Karankawa, leaving the children to tribal adoption. Two surviving children suffered a final insult as well. Once rescued by the French enemy (the Spanish), they were sent to Mexico in servitude to the viceroy Conde de Galve. But as tragic as La Salle's exploits appear, they also offer grist for today's heritage enthusiasts who can view the archived remains, including the shipwrecked guts of La Belle, in museums across the Texas coast.
Explore the La Salle Odyssey with the following Texas Historical Commission travel resources:
- Mobile Tour – Go mobile with the La Salle Odyssey mobile tour, featuring a rich blend of images, videos, first-person interviews, maps, and useful visitor information for exploring historical sites across Texas.
- Texas Time Travel website – Use the map and links below to explore La Salle Odyssey historic sites in Texas.
- Travel Guide – Download the The La Salle Odyssey: One Story Told by Seven Museums brochure (PDF).
- Watch the La Salle Odyssey video series on the Texas Historical Commission's YouTube Channel to learn more about the history and archaeology of La Salle's ill fated expedition to Texas. All videos are linked below, and you can watch the first one right here on the site.