Jacques Cartier

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Jacques Cartier (December 31, 1491 – September 1, 1557) was a French explorer of Breton origin who claimed what is now Canada for France.[1][2][3][4] He was the first European to describe and map[5] the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the shores of the Saint Lawrence River, which he named "The Country of Canadas", after the Iroquois names for the two big settlements he saw at Stadacona (Quebec City) and at Hochelaga (Montreal Island).

Contents

Biography

Jacques Cartier was born in 1491[6] in Saint-Malo, the port on the extreme north-east coast of Brittany. Cartier, who was a respectable mariner, improved his social status in 1520 by marrying Mary Catherine des Granches, member of a leading family. His good name in Saint-Malo is recognized by its frequent appearance on baptismal registers as godfather or witness.[7]

First voyage, 1534

In 1534, the year the Duchy of Brittany was formally united with France in the Edict of Union, Cartier was introduced to King Francis I by Jean le Veneur, bishop of Saint-Malo and abbot of Mont-Saint-Michel, at the Manoir de Brion. The king had previously invited (although not formally commissioned) the Florentine explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano to explore the eastern coast of North America on behalf of France in 1524. Cartier is believed to have accompanied da Verrazzano on this expedition, which explored the coast from South Carolina to Nova Scotia, and islands such as Newfoundland; on another voyage they went to Brazil. Le Veneur cited these voyages to Newfoundland and Brazil as proof of Cartier's ability to "lead ships to the discovery of new lands in the New World".[8]

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