Jean-Baptise Bénard de la Harpe

From FranaWiki

Jean-Baptise Bénard de la Harpe was a French explorer who by tradition in February 1722 named two rocky outcroppings along the Arkansas River "La Petite Roche" (the "Little Rock") and "La Grande Roche" (the "Big Rock"). It is unclear whether the explorer noticed the La Petite Roche, and what is now known as the Big Rock he actually called "Roche Française" ("French Rock").

La Petite Roche today forms the abutment of the Junction Bridge in downtown Little Rock. It is marked by a small brass plaque. The La Grande Roche is two miles upstream.

De la Harpe traded goods with local Quapaw Indians.


  • Ralph A. Smith, ed. "Exploration of the Arkansas River by Bénard de la Harpe, 1721-1722: Extracts from His Journal and Instructions," Arkansas Historical Quarterly 10 (1951): 347-357.

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