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Scarce view of the Village of Nicolet, from Joseph Bouchette's  A Topographical Description of the Province of Lower Canada, with Remarks Upon Upper Canada, and on the Relative Connexion of Both Provinces with The United States of America, published in London.

Nicolet is named for the French explorer Jean Nicolet, who went on to work with the Company of One Hundred Associates  Nicolet explored the Great Lakes region west to Wisconsin. The Nicolet was settled by Pierre Monet de Moras in the late 17th Century, building a seigneurial manor on today's Moras Island. The area began to develope after the construction of the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Jesuit mission in 1701, followed by a chapel in 1710, a presbytery in 1722, and a second church being raised in 1740.

With the British expulsion of the Acadians in 1756 and subsequent defeat of the French in the Seven Years' War,the area eventually became a major center for displaced Acadians.

Development continued with the construction of a third church in 1784, the first elementary school in 1801, and establishment of the Nicolet Seminary School in 1803. The parish of Saint-Jean-Baptiste-de-Nicolet was officially opened in 1831; Nicolet's episcopal seat was established later in 1885.