Jacques Cartier Claims St. Lawrence River Valley for France (Chronology of European History)
Article abstract: Jacques Cartier claims the St. Lawrence River Valley for France while documenting the geography of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and exploring the extent of the St. Lawrence River.
Summary of Event
Based on the doctrine of “discovery,” Jacques Cartier’s two voyages from 1534 to 1536 provided France with her claims to the region of the St. Lawrence Gulf, and his maps and descriptions remain the most reliable sixteenth century accounts of the region. While his descriptions of the aboriginal people were ethnocentric, they give fascinating insight into the European point of view at the time. Cartier failed in his primary objectives, which were to discover a northwest passage to China and to find gold or other valuable minerals. In a third expedition of 1541-1542, Cartier would attempt, but fail, to establish a permanent settlement in Canada.
Early in the sixteenth century, political and economic elites of France desired to find a westward route to Asia, and if this proved impossible, they hoped to follow Spain’s example of locating and developing the resources in the New World. Such ambitions were especially strong in Normandy and Brittany, maritime provinces which were experiencing great economic growth since the end of the Hundred Years’ War in 1453. Just seven years after John Cabot discovered the North American coast in 1497, a Norman fishing expedition led by Jean Denys found...
(The entire section is 1522 words.)
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