Jacques Cartier - Age of Exploration (2023)


age of discovery

Fast facts:

The French navigator and explorer is credited with naming Canada, exploring the St. Lawrence River and Canadian areas that would become French territory.

(Video) Jacques Cartier - Explorer | Mini Bio | BIO

Name: Jacques Cartier [zhahk][kahr-tee-ey; (Französisch) kar-tyey]

birth/death: December 31, 1491 – September 1, 1557

nationality: French

Place of birth: France

cartier portrait

Jacques Cartier. Portrait of Theophilus Hamel (1817-1870). Oil on canvas, painted around 1844 after a painting by François Riss of 1839, which has since been destroyed. Cartier is not known to have made any paintings during his lifetime. (Image credit: Library and Archives of Canada)

(Video) Jacques Cartier: French Explorer That Named Canada - Fast Facts | History

Jacques Cartier is best remembered for his exploration of parts of Canada. We even give him credit for naming the country after him. Although Cartier called the country he traveled through "Canada," the word actually comes from the Iroquois-Huron language. These aborigines referred to their town of Stacona as Kanata, which simply means "town" or "settlement".1Cartier used this word to refer to all the areas he explored and it would soon be used as more Frenchmen came to explore the country.

Early life
Jacques Cartier was born on December 31, 1491 in Saint-Malo, a port city in Brittany, France. His father was Jamet Cartier and his mother was Geseline Jansart.2Almost nothing is known of his early life before his famous explorations. Saint-Malo was a fishing village in the north of France.3Therefore, young Jacques probably learned sailing and sailing skills at an early age. Many scholars believe that Cartier made several voyages across the Atlantic in his early years. Many agree that Cartier took a trip to Brazil when he was young.4However, there is no concrete evidence of this. In May 1519, Cartier married Catherine des Granches. Catherine came from a higher class than Cartier.5When they got married, Cartier's social position and position in society increased.

Cartier quickly became a skilled navigator and sailor. Many historians believe that Cartier accompanied Giovanni da Verrazzano on his voyages to the New World in 1524 and 1528. At this time, the Spanish and Portuguese found land, resources, and wealth in the New World. Other countries like England and France also wanted to find new discoveries and riches in the New World. So they sent out scouts to claim land for themselves. King Francis I of France wanted an expedition to explore the New World in search of land and wealth. He also wanted to find a Northwest Passage to Asia. Jacques Cartier was chosen to lead this company.

main trip
The voyage began on April 20, 1534, when Cartier set out from Saint-Malo with 2 ships and 61 men. After just 20 days of sailing, the expedition reached what is now Newfoundland in early May. The fleet sailed north along the coast for a short time before turning around and heading south. Cartier continued to explore the west coast of Newfoundland. After crossing the street from Belle Isle. Cartier and his fleet explored the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. In June of 1534, he made his first great discovery of it when he arrived in an area we now know as Prince Edward Island.6This is a large island that is still part of what is now Canada. After landing on Prince Edward Island, the Cartier expedition explored the Gulf and several nearby bays in search of a passage to Asia. Not finding the passage, they continued sailing. They explored Chaleur Bay and then headed north. The last place Cartier landed before returning to France was on what is now the Gaspé Peninsula. Here they met the friendly Mimac natives who lived in the area and traded furs and other items.7The expedition sailed around the island of Anticosti before leaving the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. This made Jacques Cartier the first person to completely circumnavigate the Gulf.8They set sail to return home, arriving in Saint-Malo, France, on September 5, 1534.

After Cartier returned to France and met with King Francis, a second trip to North America was financed. Both Cartier and the king were delighted with Cartier's discoveries during his first voyage and considered them promising. The king gave Cartier more ships and men for the voyage. They were tasked with exploring more of the newly discovered locations on the continent. Cartier and his men left France on May 19, 1535. Cartier had three ships:the great stoat,the little stoat, yL'Emerillon.9The expedition reached Funk Island off the coast of Newfoundland. On September 7, 1535, Cartier and his men arrived at the site of what is now Quebec City. They stopped at a town called Stadacona, where they were greeted by Donnaconna, the Huron chief.10Several Huron natives accompanied Cartier as guides. They sailed up the St. Lawrence River and arrived at Hochelaga (now Montreal) on October 2, 1535. The natives told Cartier of a place of riches called Saguenay, but Cartier's great ships could not reach it. So he and his men returned to the mouth of the St. Charles River, to a fort they had earlier built called Saint Croix. In November, the waterways were frozen. So Cartier and his men spent that winter here until April 1536. During the winter, many of his men contracted scurvy and died. Before returning to France, Cartier kidnapped Donnaconna and her two children so that he could personally tell King Francis I about Saguenay's riches. May 6, 1536 Cartier sails for France.

Later voyages
Cartier received permission to make a third trip to find the land of Saguenay. But it would be five years before the expedition set out. This time a man named Rocque de Roberval would be in charge. Roberval's team was scheduled to join the Cartier expedition in North America the following year after an agreement was initiated. On May 23, 1541, Cartier set out from Saint Malo, France, with his men and five ships. The goal of the expedition was to establish a settlement in North America. They arrived at Stadacona on August 23, 1541 and founded a settlement called "Charlesbourg-Royal" near present-day Quebec City). They began to explore the area. Soon Cartier and his men thought they had found stones that looked like diamonds and gold. However, it turned out that the diamonds were actually pieces of quartz and the gold was iron pyrite, better known as "fool's gold".11Cartier and some of his men returned to Hochelaga. Then some Huron natives went with the Cartier team to find Saguenay. But they never found it, so Cartier and his men returned to Charlesbourg-Royal, where they spent the winter. In the spring, relations between the natives and the French turned hostile. The French abandoned the settlement and abandoned it in June 1542.

Later years and death
After leaving Charlesbourg-Royal, Cartier's fleet met up with Roberval in the port of St. John's in Newfoundland. He had with him barrels of "diamonds" and "gold" which he later found to be worthless. Roberval ordered Cartier and the colonists to turn around and return to the settlement. But they refused. Cartier and the colonists slipped away one night and returned to Saint Malo. They arrived in his homeland in October 1542. Cartier's research career ended after his third trip to North America. In the last years of his life he remained in France, where he administered his estate. He died on September 1, 1557 at the age of 66.

(Video) Montreal | Jacques Cartier at Amerindian village of Hochelaga, 1535 | Age of Discovery & Exploration

Jacques Cartier is not only credited with conquering and discovering land for France. However, his dealings with the natives were not always excellent. During his three voyages, Cartier became the first European to explore the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the Saint Lawrence River. Although his attempt to establish a French colony near present-day Quebec was unsuccessful, his discoveries led to further European exploration in the 16th and 17th centuries. The French would continue to colonize the area and develop a rich fur trade. Several sites in Canada honor him, including the Jacques Cartier Bridge, which spans the Saint Lawrence River from Montreal to Quebec. And a statue of the explorer stands at the discoverer's birthplace in Saint Malo, France.12

final notes

  1. me verdeJacques Cartier: Navigating the Saint LawrenceRiver (Nueva York: The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc., 2004), 54.
  2. James Phinney Baxter, Jean Francois de La Roque Roberval and Jean Alfonce,A memoir of Jacques Cartier, Sieur de Limoilou: his voyages to the St. Lawrence, a bibliography and aFacsimile of the 1534 manuscript with annotations, etc.(Nueva York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1906), 11.
  3. jeff donaldson-forbes,Jacques Cartier(Nueva York: The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc., 2006), 5.
  4. Donaldson Forbes,Jacques Cartier, 6.
  5. Baxter et al. in thatA memory of Jacques Cartier, 12-13.
  6. James Stuart Olson,Historical Dictionary of European Imperialism(Nueva York: Greenwood Press, 1991), 118.
  7. Kristin Petrie,Jacques Cartier(Edina: ABDO-Verlag, 2004), 9.
  8. allan Label,Historical Dictionary of the Discovery and Exploration of the Northwest Passage(Lanham: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2006), 46.
  9. Hashtag,historical lexicon, 46.
  10. Richard E. Bolander, editor,explorer and discoverer of the world(New York: MacMillan Publishing Company, 1992), 101.
  11. Boland,explorer and discoverer of the world, 103.
  12. Jennifer Lackey,Jacques Cartier: Exploring the Saint Lawrence River(Nueva York: Crabtree Publishing Company, 2006), 30.


Baxter, James Phinney, Jean Francois de La Roque Roberval and Jean Alfonce.Memoirs of Jacques Cartier, Sieur de Limoilou: his voyages to the San Lorenzo, bibliography and facsimile of the 1534 manuscript with annotations, etc.Nueva York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1906.

Boland,Richard E., Ed. Explorers and Discoverers of the World. . . . New York: MacMillan-Verlag, 1992.

Label, Alan.Historical Dictionary of the Discovery and Exploration of the Northwest Passage. Lanham: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2006.

Donaldson-Forbes, Jeff.Jacques Cartier. Nueva York: Die Rosen Publishing Group, Inc., 2006.

Green, Mega.Jacques Cartier: Navigating the Saint Lawrence River. Nueva York: The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc., 2004.

Lakai, Jennifer.Jacques Cartier: Exploring the Saint Lawrence River. New York: Crabtree-Verlag, 2006.

Olson, James Stuart.Historical Dictionary of European Imperialism. Nueva York: Greenwood Press, 1991.

(Video) New France: Jacques Cartier 1st and 2nd Voyages (1534-36)

Petri, Kristin.Jacques Cartier. Edina: ABDO-Verlag, 2004.


Decorative bar of the "Grande Hermine", part of the "Tall Ships of History" series, 1974, The Franklin Mint, The Mariners' Museum.
Portrait of Jacques Cartier on board a ship, ready for his voyage.
„Jacques Cartier“, Jacques Cartier and his four voyages to Canada: an essay, with historical, explanatory and philological notes, 1890, from the library of the Museum of Mariners, E133.C3.S8.

Jacques Cartier, Los viajes de Jacques Cartier, 1924, from the Bibliothek des Seemannsmuseum, E133C3A4.

  • vocabulary
  • Original website "EXPLORATION through the AGES".
  • Seafarer educational programs


What did Jacques Cartier discover explore? ›

During that first expedition, he explored the western coast of Newfoundland and the Gulf of St. Lawrence as far as today's Anticosti Island, which Cartier called Assomption. He is also credited with the discovery of what is now known as Prince Edward Island.

What was the purpose of Jacques Cartier exploration? ›

Jacques Cartier Sails Upriver. French navigator Jacques Cartier sailed into the St. Lawrence River for the first time on June 9, 1534. Commissioned by King Francis I of France to explore the northern lands in search of gold, spices, and a northern passage to Asia, Cartier's voyages underlay France's claims to Canada.

When was Jacques Cartier's first exploration? ›

On April 20, 1534, accompanied by approximately 60 sailors who were to handle two ships of about 60 tonnes each, Cartier set sail from Saint-Malo. Crossing the Atlantic went smoothly; after 20 days, he entered the Strait of Belle Isle.

Why was Jacques Cartier important to the age of exploration? ›

French mariner Jacques Cartier was the first European to navigate the St. Lawrence River, and his explorations of the river and the Atlantic coast of Canada, on three expeditions from 1534 to 1542, laid the basis for later French claims to North America. Cartier is also credited with naming Canada.

What is Cartier most known for? ›

Cartier is perhaps best known for its jewelry and watches, but it has also forged successful niches in leather goods and perfumes. It became part of the Richemont Group in 1988 and still lives by the motto of its original driving force, Louis Cartier: “Never imitate, always innovate”.

What was Jacques Cartier main journey? ›

May 23, 1541, Cartier, with his men and five ships, left Saint Malo, France. The goal of the expedition was to establish a settlement in North America. They arrived in Stadacona on August 23, 1541, and established a settlement named “Charlesbourg-Royal”near modern day Quebec City).

How did Cartier treat the natives? ›

Whilst some of his actions toward the St. Lawrence Iroquoians were dishonorable, he did try at times to establish friendship with them and other native peoples living along the great St. Lawrence river -- an indispensable preliminary to French settlement in their lands.

Who was the first person to discover Canada? ›

Between 1534 and 1542, Jacques Cartier made three voyages across the Atlantic, claiming the land for King Francis I of France. Cartier heard two captured guides speak the Iroquoian word kanata, meaning “village.” By the 1550s, the name of Canada began appearing on maps.

What did Jacques Cartier discover on his second voyage? ›

Thanks to their accounts of a fabulously rich Kingdom of Saguenay, a second voyage was rapidly decided upon. Cartier's second voyage to New France (present-day Canada), in 1535-36, resulted in the discovery of the Saint Lawrence River, the most important route into the interior of the continent.

Why was Cartier considered a failure? ›

► When Cartier returned to France from his final voyage in 1542, he was considered a failure. He hadn't found a passage to Asia, the minerals and rocks he had thought were diamonds and jewels turned out to be worthless, and his attempt to establish a permanent settlement in North America had been unsuccessful.

Why is Cartier so special? ›

Cartier's focus on quality is evident in its designs and products. The company uses only the finest materials and the most skilled craftsmen to create its products. This attention to detail has made Cartier's jewelry some of the most sought-after in the world.

What does Cartier symbolize? ›

Creativity, freedom, sharing and excellence are all central to its values. This vision enables a creative territory that is shaped around a unique style. From jewelry and fine jewelry to watchmaking and perfumes: Cartier's creations symbolize the fusion of exceptional savoir-faire and timelessness.

How did Cartier describe the beliefs of the Native Americans? ›

They were pagans who needed to be evangelized but whose idolatry was … disturbing to the English. They had a reproducing population, evidence that they needed land and food for their own people.

Was Jacques Cartier a hero? ›

After his return home, Jacques Cartier was welcomed as a hero and was awarded with wealth and positions. By late 1540, King Francis I wanted to establish permanent French settlement on the shore of Gulf of St. Lawrence and to find fabled riches in gold and diamonds that were often mentioned by native Indians.

What was Canada almost named? ›

Other proposed names

Borealia – from borealis, the Latin word for 'northern'; compare with Australia. Cabotia – in honour of Italian explorer John Cabot, who explored the eastern coast of Canada for England. Colonia. Efisga – an acronym of English, French, Irish, Scottish, German, Aboriginal.

Who gave Canada its name? ›

Aboriginal roots

The name “Canada” likely comes from the Huron-Iroquois word “kanata,” meaning “village” or “settlement.” In 1535, two Aboriginal youths told French explorer Jacques Cartier about the route to kanata; they were actually referring to the village of Stadacona, the site of the present-day City of Québec.

What was Canada called before it was called Canada? ›

Prior to 1870, it was known as the North-Western Territory. The name has always been a description of the location of the territory.

What places did Jacques Cartier explore? ›

Jacques Cartier was the first European to describe and map the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the shores of the Saint Lawrence River, which he named "The Country of Canadas" after the Iroquoian names for the two big settlements he saw at Stadacona (Quebec City) and at Hochelaga (Montreal Island).

What was the purpose of Jacques Cartier second voyage? ›

Not long after arriving at Île d'Orléans, Jacques Cartier decided to explore the surrounding country for the purpose of finding a suitable location in which to shelter his vessels. He discovered a natural haven at the junction of the Lairet and Saint-Charles Rivers.

What was the purpose of Jacques Cartier's third voyage to Canada? ›

Cartier's third voyage, which had been intended for exploration and colonization, proved a failure, as did Sieur de Roberval's attempt at establishing a settlement, moreover. The gold and diamonds that Cartier believed he had discovered were actually nothing more than iron pyrite and quartz!


1. Quebec City | Jacques Cartier at Amerindian village of Stadacona in 1535-36 | Age of Exploration
2. Jacques Cartier Biography (1491-1557) French mariner & explorer of Canada
3. 1 - Jacques Cartier’s three voyages
4. European Explorers - Educational Social Studies Video for Elementary Students and Kids
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5. The French Explorers The Beginnings of French Exploration and Settlement in North America 1490 156
6. Jacque Cartier Explorers Canada


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