June 9, 1534
Jacques Cartier Sailed Up the St.
When French navigator Jacques
Cartier left France by boat in April 1534, the king
ordered him to find gold, spices (which were valuable
at that time), and a water passage from France to
months later, on June 9, Cartier sailed into the
waters of the St. Lawrence River in eastern Canada.
Although he couldn't travel up the river all the way
to Asia, Cartier had in fact discovered an important
waterway into the vast areas of Canada
Sailing with sixty-one men aboard
his ship, Cartier ventured north up the St. Lawrence
River to Prince Edward Island, where he made his first
contact with members of the native Iroquois Nation.
The first interactions were friendly. The
tribe's chief, Donnacona, let two of his sons,
Taignoagny and Domagaya, return to France with Cartier
on the condition that they would return home.
Two years later, Cartier returned
from France, bringing Taignoagny and Domagaya with
him. North of Montreal, his ship arrived at the
Lachine Rapids, which were so big that he and his crew
could not pass through. Cartier realized he could sail
Cartier's voyages to eastern Canada
helped other explorers who would establish
French-speaking Canada. Have you ever been to Montreal
or Quebec? Did you know that the main
language spoken there is still French?