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Jacques Cartier was a Breton explorer who claimed what is now Canada for France. Jacques Cartier was the first European to describe and map the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the shores of the 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).
See the fact file below for more information on the Jacques Cartier or alternatively, you can download our 20-page Jacques Cartier worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
EARLY CAREER OF CARTIER
- Jacques Cartier was born on or around December 31, 1491 (one year before Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue) in Saint Malo in the medieval state of Brittany.
- His early life was poorly documented, but it is known that he was employed in business and navigation from a young age.
- After marrying Mary Catherine des Granches (the daughter of a knight of Saint Malo), his social status improved, as did his opportunities.
- It is speculated (but not known) that Cartier took part in Giovanni da Verrazzano’s expeditions in 1524 and 1528, and that he had some knowledge of navigation and of the sea.
TO THE NEW LANDS
- On March 19, 1534, Cartier was tasked with sailing to the “New Lands” to discover islands and countries where gold and other riches were said to have been.
- Other accounts allude to the idea that Cartier was tasked with finding a route to Asia, as opposed to just finding gold and riches.
- The next day, he and his crew of 61 sailed off towards the “New Lands” and reached Newfoundland in early April of 1534, apparently as a result of good weather.
- According to accounts, Cartier had already been familiar with the coast of “Newfoundland”.
- His exploration began in an area called the Strait of Belle Isle to southern Newfoundland.
- He was not fond of the “land God gave to Cain” (the northern coast of Newfoundland), as he found it had no quality, fertile land.
- It was here, on the 12th or 13th of June, that he saw indigenous people who had come from inland to hunt the seals.
- After skirting around the coast of Newfoundland, he entered the Gulf of St. Lawrence by the Strait of Belle Isle and travelled south.
- Once he reached what is known today as the “Cabot Strait”, he turned westward.
- He came across islands that looked fertile compared to Newfoundland, and set up a cross; he then moved on to Île Brion and the Îles de la Madeleine.
- By 29 June he saw what is now known as Prince Edward Island, but didn’t realize it was an island. He also came across New Brunswick.
- He is credited with being the first explorer to have sailed through and mapped the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
- On July 24, 1534, he planted a cross in the name of France, and took possession of the land.
- Before leaving for France, Cartier captured two Iroquoians in exchange for bringing back European goods on his new voyage.
- The two Iroquoians were the sons of the Iroquoian chief named Donnacona.
- In May of the following year, he returned with more crew members and resumed his quest of the lands.
- After reaching St.Lawrence, he sailed up river and stopped, as he was blocked by rapids.
- Realizing it was too late to return to France, Cartier buckled down for the winter, and dealt with scurvy until they were given “spruce beer” to cure them.
HIS THIRD VOYAGE
- After returning to France with Donnacona in tow, he was informed that King Francis I wanted Cartier to go back to Canada to help with a colonization project.
- On May 23, 1541, Cartier departed, with the intent to find the “Kingdom of Saguenay”, which was supposed to hold riches and gold.
- Upon landing at Cap-Rouge, Quebec, they prepared to stay by planting gardens, releasing the livestock they had brought over, and building permanent forts and settlements.
- As the Frenchmen were settling in, Cartier noticed the Iroquoians becoming more secretive, and not coming around to visit and trade.
- He realized that their trust was decreasing, and that the French needed to increase their defenses.
- At the port of St. John’s, Cartier ran into Roberval (who was sent to settle Canada and spread the “Holy Catholic faith”).
- Roberval ordered them to leave.
- Cartier sneakily headed back to France in the middle of the night, which he was likely reprimanded for, as he didn’t make any long- range expeditions after that.
- Cartier has been hailed by the French in Canada as the discoverer of Canada (although this is up for debate by historians).
- Cartier is credited with producing a helpful estimate of the resources available in Canada (both natural and human).
- He was the first person to document the name “Canada”.
- He was the first European to land on the continent.
Jacques Cartier Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Jacques Cartier across 20 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Jacques Cartier worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Jacques Cartier who was a Breton explorer who claimed what is now Canada for France. Jacques Cartier was the first European to describe and map the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the shores of the 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).
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Mapping His Route
- Jacques Cartier Crossword
- Fact or Myth?
- The Charlesbourg-Royal
- Cartier Coloring Page
- Diary from Canada
- Cartier Acrostic
- Jacques Cartier Wordsearch
- Cartier: Discoverer of Canada?
- Design a Postage Stamp
Link/cite this page
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Link will appear as Jacques Cartier Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, December 3, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.