Nauvoo was established in many different ways by many different people. Beginning with the Sauk and Fox Native American Tribes who were forced from their eastern homelands, and came to the Mississippi Valley and began making many permanent settlements near where Nauvoo is today. The early European explorers and army surveyors, who established many a post in the area and eventually started Nauvoo's precursor towns, Venus and Commerce in 1820's and 1830's. The Mormons led in 1839 by their prophet Joseph Smith, who drained the swamps, gave Nauvoo its name and built a town that rivaled Chicago until religious percussion led them to head out west. The Icarians, a group of mostly middle class French idealists led by Etienne Cabet attempted to establish a communistic society in Nauvoo, Illinois to varying success in the 1850's. German speaking pioneers brought stability and progress to Nauvoo. Helping to preserve many of the Mormon homes and brought and preserved much of Nauvoo's culture. Building up much of the business district Nauvoo knows today. Throughout Nauvoo's amazing storied past there have been many wonderful people who have kept the city vibrant and beautiful. Take a moment to read some of the links below and discover what makes Nauvoo such a wonderful place to visit.