||Cartier, Jacques, 1491-1557
||Third Voyage of Discovery Made By Captaine Jaques Cartier, 1541
||Burrage, Henry S. (editor). Early English and French Voyages, Chiefly from Hakluyt, 1534-1608. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1906). Pages 91-102.
||14 / 0
Jacques Cartier (1491-1557) was a Breton sailor who visited Brazil
and may have accompanied Giovanni da Verrazzano during his exploration
of the North American coast in 1524. In 1533 he inquired about further
exploration of North America and received permission from the crown
to pursue his idea. He made voyages in 1534, 1535-1536, and 1541-1542,
and may have returned once more in 1543. Cartier died in September
1557 at or near his home in St. Malo, France.
Cartier’s Third Voyage to Canada, 1541-1542
The difficult conditions experienced in Quebec during the winter
of 1535 and Cartier’s failure to produce jewels or gold convinced
the King to withdraw support for another expedition. Not until a
nobleman from Picardy, Jean-François de la Rocque de Roberval,
expressed interest in backing another expedition in 1540 could Cartier
return to New France. In command of five ships, Cartier and Roberval
set out from St. Malo on May 23, 1541 (Hakluyt records an incorrect
year, 1540, for the departure). Storms slowed their crossing and
the crew was forced to drink spirits while the water for the journey
was given to goats, pigs, and “beasts” on board, carried to breed
at the planned colony. The crossing lasted three months and Cartier
was unable to rendezvous with Roberval’s ships that fall.
Cartier returned to the St. Lawrence River harbor of St.
Croix where he had wintered in 1535-1536, and set up a new
compound. In his travels he discovered quartz crystals he
believed were diamonds and pyrite he believed to be gold.
However, upon his return, the discovery of the worthless nature
of these minerals hurt his chances to return to New France. The
account is incomplete and stops before winter arrives. Cartier
ran out of supplies and returned to France in May 1543. He
discovered that Roberval had begun his colony at modern St.
John’s in Newfoundland, but Cartier did not remain in Canada.
The official report of this expedition came to the attention
of Richard Hakluyt, who translated it from French and published
it in his Principal Navigations… in 1600.
Other Internet or Reference Sources
The standard modern edition of Cartier’s writings is The Voyages
of Jacques Cartier, Published from the Originals with Translations,
edited by Henry P. Bigger (Toronto, 1924). A book-length biography
of the explorer, written in 1916 by Stephen Leacock, is available
from Project Gutenberg at http://www.gutenberg.org/
The National Library of Canada has created “Pathfinders and
Passageways: The Exploration of Canada” at
http://www.nlc-bnc.ca/2/24/h24-220-e.html with a wealth of
background information, images, and excerpts from primary
sources on the country’s early history that provide biographical
and historical summaries. Other contemporary primary documents
can be found at the Early Canadiana Online project,