Jacques Cartier

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Jacques Cartier
Jacques Cartier - Explorer (1491 - 1557)

Jacques Cartier was a French Explorer who made three expeditions to Canada and gave the land its name. Having been commissioned by the French King, Francis I, he claimed the land for France. He explored the St. Lawrence River, survived extreme winters and scurvy, and met the local Iroquoians. He took several Iroquoians back to France.

This page details facts about Jacques Cartier's life and the events that shaped his history.

Jacques Cartier the Explorer - Fun Facts for Kids !
Jacques Cartier Fact   1: Jacques Cartier was born on 31st December 1491 in the port of St. Malo on the coast of Brittany, France.
Jacques Cartier Fact   2: Little is known of his early life, however in May 1520 Jacques Cartier married Catherine des Granches whose father, Jacques des Granches, was a constable of St. Malo.

Jacques Cartier Fact   3: It’s believed that Jacques Cartier, who lived in Dieppe, acquired his skills as a mariner while accompanying another of Dieppe’s occupants, Giovanni da Verrazzano, on his expeditions to the Americas. Giovanni da Verrazzano was Italian however he sailed for the French King, Francis I, under the French flag.
Jacques Cartier Fact   4: The Bishop of St. Malo, Jean le Veneur, introduced Jacques Cartier to King Francis I and on 19th March 1534 King Francis I commissioned him to discover lands and islands where gold and other precious items would be found.
Jacques Cartier Fact   5: Setting out on 20th April 1534 with two ships and a crew of 61, Jacques Cartier headed for Newfoundland, where he arrived twenty days later.
Jacques Cartier Fact   6: Jacques Cartier sailed around the present day Gulf of St. Lawrence to the Magdalen Islands and then on to Prince Edward Island. He moved on to Chaleur Bay where, on 7th July 1534, he met and traded with some Mi’kmaq Indians.
Jacques Cartier Fact   7: Jacques Cartier next stopped at Gaspe Bay where there were many Iroquois from the local village Stadacona (Modern day Quebec). The initial encounter between the two parties was friendly and the mood was good. However, relations soured when, on 24th July, he had a thirty foot cross erected at Pointe-Penouille claiming the area for the King of France.
Jacques Cartier Fact   8: On 25th July Jacques Cartier left the area and headed for St. Malo, France, where he arrived on 5th September. On board his ship were Domagaya and Taignoagny, two sons of Donnacona the local Chief. It isn’t clear how they came to be aboard as some believe that they willingly accompanied him to France, while others believe that they were kidnapped.
Jacques Cartier Fact   9: On May 19th 1535 Jacques Cartier set off on a second voyage to Canada. This time he commanded a fleet of three ships, the Grande Hermine, the Petite Hermine and the Emerillon. Both Domagaya and Taignoagny, accompanied him on this expedition. They had told him of the St. Lawrence River and the ‘Kingdom of Saguenay’ which was believed to be full of treasure.
Jacques Cartier Fact 10: By July 26th the small fleet had arrived and began exploring the area. On August 10th 1535, St. Lawrence’s day, Jacques Cartier gave a small bay the name ‘St. Lawrence’. In later years cartographers applied the name to the river.
Jacques Cartier Fact 11: Jacques Cartier sailed to Stadacona before moving on to the St. Charles River where he set up a headquarters. Cartier boarded the Emerillon and, leaving the other ships, he resumed his exploration. Continuing up the St. Lawrence River, he arrived in Hochelaga (modern day Montreal) on 2nd October.
Jacques Cartier Fact 12: Rapids prevented Jacques Cartier from traveling any further up the river, so he returned to his headquarters on the St. Charles River. As winter was arriving, and despite a downturn in relations with the Iroquoians, he decided it was too late to return to France so prepared to spend the winter in Stadacona.
Jacques Cartier Fact 13: In Mid November 1535 the ships became trapped in ice, and a month later an outbreak of scurvy affected both the Iroquoians and the expedition members, with fatalities in both camps. After a while Jacques Cartier learned of a treatment from the Iroquoians. The treatment, made from the bark of the annedda tree, proved to be an effective cure.
Jacques Cartier Fact 14: On 3rd May 1536 Jacques Cartier erected a cross on the site of their winter camp. On 6th May he set off for France, taking with him the local Chief Donnaconna and a few other Iroquoians. He arrived back in St. Malo on 16th July 1536.
Jacques Cartier Fact 15: On 17th October 1540 King Francis I ordered Jacques Cartier to return to Canada to set up a colony. Cartier, who was to have been Captain General, became Chief Navigator to Jean-François de La Roque de Roberval who had been placed in command of the expedition.
Jacques Cartier Fact 16: On 23rd May 1541, authorized by de Roberval, Jacques Cartier left for Canada ahead of the others who were waiting for supplies. He travelled with five ships and approximately 1500 people.
Jacques Cartier Fact 17: Three months later Cartier arrived at Stadacona. The Iroquoians that had accompanied him back to France had all died apart from one young girl. He admitted that Chief Donnaconna had died but explained away the absence of the remaining Iroquoians by saying that they had married and remained in France, living in a grand manner and having no desire to return.
Jacques Cartier Fact 18: It was soon clear that Jacques Cartier and his expedition were no longer welcome in Stadacona so they moved to the foot of what is now known as Cap Rouge and established a settlement called Charlesbourg Royal.
Jacques Cartier Fact 19: It’s unclear what happened over the winter of 1541 – 1542, but whatever it was led to Jacques Cartier, and the surviving members of the expedition, abandoning the settlement in June 1542.
Jacques Cartier Fact 20: On his return journey Jacques Cartier came across de Roberval, who wanted him to accompany him back to the settlement. Having no desire to do so, Cartier sailed away under the cover of darkness and arrived back at St. Malo in September.
Jacques Cartier Fact 21: Jacques Cartier named the territory around the St. Lawrence River ‘Canada’. This name was taken from the Huron-Iroquois word ‘Kanata’ meaning settlement or village.

Jacques Cartier Fact 22:
Jacques Cartier never returned to Canada, he spent the rest of his life in St. Malo where he died on 1st September 1557. The cause of his death is believed to be typhus although there is no hard evidence.

Jacques Cartier Fact 23:
After a rough winter and an outbreak of scurvy de Roberval abandoned Charlesbourg Royal and returned to France in June 1543.

Jacques Cartier Fact 24:
On August 18 2006 an announcement by Jean Charest, the Quebec Premier, confirmed that the precise location of Charlesbourg Royal had been found by archaeologists.

Jacques Cartier the Explorer (1491 - 1557) Fun Facts Info for Kids !

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