Who is Jacques Cartier?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Jacques Cartier was an explorer.  He was a French man who explored on behalf of his country.  He is most famous for the fact that he was the one who explored the St. Lawrence River and claimed much of what is now Canada for France.

Jacques Cartier was born sometime in the early 1490s in St. Malo, France.  As is the case with most people from that time, little is known about his early years.  Cartier started to do the things that would make him famous in 1534.  It was in that year that he sailed for Newfoundland with orders to explore and to, hopefully, find the “Northwest Passage.”  This was a water route that many people believed would allow people to sail from Europe directly to Asia.

In looking for this Northwest Passage, Cartier “discovered” the St. Lawrence River.  In all, Cartier made three voyages.  His main importance was that he claimed the region of the river for France.  This made France a North American power for a time.

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