Jacques Cartier was born in St. Malo, France on December 31st in 1491 and died there also on September 1st 1556 when he was 65 years old. The name of his home was Limoelou. He married Mary Catherine des Granches in 1520. He was a respectable sailor and had travelled to South America and mainly Brazil before his great expeditions to Canada. The King in France was named Louis I and he was looking for a northern passage to China which was called the Orient in that time.
Cartier had two relatives called Jean LeVeneur and the Abbot of Mont saint-Michele who convinced the king of France to fund and help Jacques Cartier find the passage to the Orient.
Cartier left to find this passage on April 20th of 1534 and sailed with two ships. This was Cartier’s first of 3 trips that he made to Canada. The ships were called the Triton and the Goeland. He crossed the Atlantic Ocean and got to Newfoundland in only 20 days.
It was at this time that he started to explore Newfoundland, the areas that se now know as the Atlantic Provinces and the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. Some of the islands he visited were The Islands of Birds. His crew killed about one thousand birds. Most of the birds were Great Auks, which look like puffins, and now they are extinct.
When he landed in Newfoundland he met with Indians called Micmacs but he didn’t trust them and then when he sailed north to Gaspe he met Indians fishing that were from a tribe called the Iroquois. This place was called Honguedo and the chief of the Iroquois group was Donnacona. Cartier wanted to show his importance to the Indians and put up a big wooden cross with the French symbol of the Fleur des Lys on it. It was July 24th 1534. During this time he also took the land in the king of France’s name. Donnacona was not very happy. However, Cartier made a large feast and invited Donnacona and his two sons (Domagaya and Taignoainy) to go back to France with him. Cartier promised to bring them back. Donnacona and the others spent eight months in France and when they came back with Cartier on his second voyage and because they had learned to speak French they helped Cartier learn a lot of information about this new land and helped Cartier find the great river that he had missed on his first voyage. It was now May of 1535.
For his second voyage he sailed with three ships and one hundred and ten men. The ship’s names were: Grande Hermine, Petite Hermine and Emerillon. Jacques Cartier was hoping to find many jewels and gold to take back to the king of France. During his second voyage many men got very sick with scurvy and died. Scurvy is caused by not having enough vitamin C and can cause loosing teeth, spots on the skin and bleeding. 85 men survived because the natives taught them how to make and drink a mix made with the bark of the white cedar. Cartier sailed up the great river to Stadacona which is now Quebec City and then went by longboat to a village called Hochelaga which he called Mont Real. From the top of Mont Real he could see that would not be able to go any further into the river.
Cartier spent the winter of 1535 to 1536 in Stadacona and returned to France in May of 1536 with about ten natives including Donnacona and his sons. Unfortunately, he went back without finding any riches but he did plan to colonize the areas he saw during his second voyage. On his third voyage to Canada in August of 1541 he arrived without the natives that he captured during the second voyage and the Captain who the king of France put above him was Jean-Francois de La Roque Agona de Roberval. Agona was now the only chief at Stadacona. Cartier and Roberval settled with some seeds for flowers, cows, kitchen gardens, and seeds for turnips, cabbage, and lettuce. They called this settlement Charelsbourg-Royal. The sailors also collected what they thought were diamonds and gold. Cartier decided that a passage to China did not exist and so he returned to St. Malo. The diamonds and gold ended up being quartz and iron pyrite (fool’s gold).
Roberval continued with the colonization of the area but Jacques Cartier because he did not have enough money and because the king was disappointed in Cartier’s voyages. Jacques Cartier never returned to Canada again. He spent the rest of his life giving navigation advice, being a Portuguese translator and going through his travel memories. He still lived in Limoelou, St. Malo with his wife. He never had any children and died of the plague on September 1st 1557. Cartier’s most important contributions were that he gave Canada its name from the word “Kanata” meaning village. He discovered Prince Edward Island. He was the first explorer to go to the Gulf of St. Lawrence and he drew the first to draw very good maps of the St. Lawrence River which was very important to the explorers that came after him. In 1905 a representative of Canada who went to France asked the French Government to build a statue of him in St. Malo. In 1984 Limoelu, Cartier’s home was bought, restored and made into a museum by the Macdonald Stewart foundation. Jacques Cartier’s name will forever be a part of Canada’s History. This makes him a great explorer.
World Wide Web
Encyclopedia of French cultural heratige in North America. “Jacques Cartier” http://www.ameriquefrancais.org
Helen rain. http://helen-rainblogspot.com/2009/03/jacquescartier.html
Wikipedia. “Jacques Cartier”. http://www.wikipedia.org
Birth of Jacques Cartier. http://www.lookandlearn.com/blog/?p1983
Jacques Cartier, Explorer. http://www.answers.com/topic/jacques-cartier
Google Images. Jacques Cartier. http://www.google.ca/images?hl=en&source=imghp&biw=1276&bih=791&q=jacques+cartier&gbv=2&aq=5&aqi=g10&aql=&oq=jacqu