Jacques Cartier

Jacques Cartier was a French explorer and navigator born in 1491 in Brittany, a region in the north-west of France. In 1534, when the Duchy of Brittany became a part of the Kingdom of France, Jacques Cartier was introduced to king Francis I. That year, under a commission from the king, Cartier sailed to the Western world. It is believed that it took Cartier 20 days to cross the ocean. He explored what is known today as the area of Newfoundland and the provinces of St. Lawrence. Cartier returned to France in 1534, convinced he had reached Asia.

On his second voyage in 1535 he sailed with 110 men and three ships. With one of his smaller ships, he reached Montreal. Unfortunately, due to severe weather conditions, Cartier could not return to France that winter. Cartier and his men spent the winter of 1535 in Stadacona and Hochelaga (now Montreal).

His third voyage was in 1541. However, this time Cartier was not fully in charge of the expedition. Instead, Jean-Francois de la Rocque de Roberval who was named the first lieutenant general of French Canada was ordained to lead the expedition. This time, they left with five ships, and their primary goal was to establish a settlement near St. Lawrence River. Cartier returned to France without de Roberval, bringing with him what he thought was gold. When it turned out that the gold was not real, France abandoned plans for colonizing Quebec for half a century.