Jacques Cartier

Jacques Cartier was a French explorer who was asked by the king of France to explore the New World and to found a colony. Cartier, seeking adventure, readily agreed.

He set out with two ships and sixty-one men. They crossed the Atlantic and reached land on the far side, only to discover that it was Vineland* (Canada). They stayed there and discovered the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Prince Henry Island. Then they returned to France and stayed there for two or three years while they made plans for another expedition.

Cartier traveled once again, this time with three ships and one hundred and ten men. They landed in the same spot as before, and they encountered friendly native Indians who were willing to trade with them. They tried to settle but a harsh, severe winter forced them back to France.

Cartier crossed the Atlantic for the last and third time. He and his men succeeded in founding a colony, and it thrived. Then, one day, Cartier stumbled across what he took to be riches. He was so joyful and eager to show his discovery to the king that he boarded a ship immediately and headed back to France. When he got there, he learned two things:

  1. That his ‘riches’ were fake
  2. That his reputation was ruined

Utterly rejected, Cartier died a disgrace, but the colony he founded lived on. Even though he was not recognized as one of the great explorers, he managed, through stratagem, courage and faith to stake a claim for France in the New World.


*When Leif Ericsson the Viking discovered Canada he named it Vineland after the amount of grapes he found growing there.


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