René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, or Robert de LaSalle (November 22, 1643 – March 19, 1687) was a French explorer. He explored the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada, the Mississippi River, and the Gulf of Mexico. La Salle claimed the entire Mississippi basin for France. In addition he claimed Texas for France, a claim that was not settled until after the Louisiana Purchase was sold to the United States. Spain traded her claim on Florida for the former French claim on Texas setting the border where Texas and Louisiana meet.
Robert de La Salle's expedition to Texas is famous for its blunders and many disasters. First the expedition lost their supply ship to Spanish privateers. Missing the mouth of the Mississippi by a wide margin the expedition found itself at Matagorda Bay, Texas in 1686. There the expedition wrecked two of its ships, a 36 gun frigate and then the barque La Belle. (In game as the 'La Belle' Light Corvette.) The French survivors first founded a fort on Matagorda Island before moving inland and setting up Fort St. Louis near present day Inez, Texas. Due to deaths from disease, poor rations, overwork and Indian attacks the fort was abandoned by La Salle. He attempted to march overland to Illinois for help leaving behind the surviving women and children in the care of seven soldiers. Ultimately the party fell apart due to mutiny and murder, La Salle being one of the victims of his men. As for those left behind they were attacked by local Indians and massacred, only the children kept alive to become adopted by the tribe. A few of these were later rescued by the Spanish when they came to eradicate all evidence of the French claim on Texas.
La Salle and his men made it to Illinois Country where their cry for supplies and help was heeded by French authorities. A second supply ship with further men and colonists reached Matagorda Bay where they re-established the fort on what they called Belle Isle, after the wrecked barque nearby. The colony persists as a bulwark against Spanish expansion into French Louisiana.