We the Italians March 21, 2016 - 77 - Page 8

st # 77 MARCH 21 , 2016 read more #interviews THE INTERVIEW: Charlotte Piazza Italy in Arkansas: welcome to Tontitown If you think that the story of the Italian explorers and the territory now called “United States of America” stops at Cristoforo Colombo and Amerigo Vespucci, you probably never heard about Giovanni Caboto (the fact that English is the language spoken in the US can be directly attributed to England's claims in North America, based on his voyages), Giovanni da Verrazzano (the first European to enter in  the New York Bay), Francesco Vigo (he financed the Northwest Expedition of George Rogers Clark and accompanied him through the lands that would become Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan) and Alessandro Malaspina, who mapped the Pacific from Mexico to Alaska and to the Philippines. 8 | WE THE ITALIANS www.wetheitalians.com By Umberto Mucci sissippi River. He found the Arkansas Post, the first permanent European settlement in the lower Mississippi region, in about 1692. He was from the Southern part of Italy, close to the boot. During the Third Anglo-Dutch War he lost his right hand in a grenade explosion. As an explorer, he was an associate of the French voyager La Salle. Henry De Tonti acquired some land in the Arkansas Post of the Mississippi: and granted the Indians to live there. Today we want to talk about Enrico Tonti, a Sicilian who was the first to sail on the Great Lakes in 1679, the founder of the territory that became the State of Illinois, and the colonizer of Louisiana and Arkansas, where there’s even a Tontitown, with a museum curated by a very kind lady, Charlotte Piaz- Please, tell us something about the birth of Tontiza. town and the Italian emiCharlotte, please tell us gration to Arkansas as who was Enrico Tonti or, long as you know about it. as you call him in the US, At the end of the XXth cenHenry De Tonti? tury the US were growing He was an Italian explorer and needed workers, and who discovered the Mis- searched for them all over