||Cartier and Donnacona
This lesson corresponds to material found in:
Episode 1 When the World Began...
In the summer of 1534, Jacques Cartier, sailing under the flag of France, explored Canada's eastern coasts in search of a north west passage to the precious riches of Asia. He travelled up the Gulf of the St. Lawrence and, at what's now called Baie des Chaleurs, met the Micmac with whom he traded objects for furs. Cartier continued his journey, and took possession of the territory in the name of France. He planted a cross at Gaspé, which angered the Iroquois chief Donnacona. Donnacona nevertheless allowed
Cartier to continue the journey, the explorer taking Donnacona's two sons, whom he took back to France for the winter of 1534-35.
Donnacona's sons told Cartier about a river leading into the territory he had been exploring. Cartier organized a second expedition in 1535, during which he went to Stadacona (Quebec) to revisit Donnacona. He then made his way towards Hochelaga (Montreal) where he met other Iroquois. Cartier returned to Stadacona to spend the winter in a small fort built by his men. The harsh winter took a terrible toll. Most of Cartier's 110 men came down with scurvy, and 25 of them died. Donnacona's sons prepared a tea made from cedar bark, restoring the men to health.
In the spring of 1536, Cartier returned to France. He took Donnacona and nine other members of his tribe, promising the people of Stadacona he'd bring their chief back within 12 moons. Donnacona made a huge sensation in France, where he recounted the marvels of a mythical country, the Saguenay. But Cartier couldn't keep his promise. Without sufficient funding, he didn't return to Canada until 1541 - and then, without the Iroquois chief, who had died in France.
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