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Cartier and Donnacona
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LESSON 3: Cartier and Donnacona

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This lesson corresponds to material found in:
Episode 1 When the World Began...

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Backgrounder

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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    Episode 1
    When the World Began...
    Lesson 1 Canada's First Peoples
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 2 Stories of Creation
    Lesson 3 Cartier and Donnacona

    Episode 2
    Adventures and Mystics
    Lesson 4 The Beginning of the Fur Trade
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 5 The Jesuits and the Huron
    Lesson 6 Immigration to New France

    Episode 3
    Claiming the Wilderness
    Lesson 7 Expansion to the Gulf of Mexico
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 8 The Expulsion of the Acadians

    Episode 4
    Battle for a Continent
    Lesson 9 Before the Battle of the Plains of Abraham
    Lesson 10 The Battle of the Plains of Abraham
    Lesson 11 The Quebec Act
    (includes activity)

    Episode 5
    A Question of Loyalties
    Lesson 12 Conflict in Quebec, 1775
    Lesson 13 United Empire Loyalists
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 14 Sir Isaac Brock and Tecumseh

    Episode 6
    The Pathfinders
    Lesson 15 The Fur Trade in Canada
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 16 The Selkirk Settlers
    Lesson 17 The Gold Rush

    Episode 7
    Rebellion and Reform
    Lesson 18 The Rebellions of 1837
    Lesson 19 Union of the Canadas
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 20 A Land of Hope

    Episode 8
    The Great Enterprise
    Lesson 21 Newcomers to Canada
    Lesson 22 The Making of Confederation
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 23 Confederation in the Maritimes

    Episode 9
    From Sea to Sea
    Lesson 24 The Red River Resistance
    (includes activity)
    Lesson 25 The Pacific Scandal

    Episode 10
    Taking the West
    Lesson 26 The North-West Rebellion
    Lesson 27 The Trial of Louis Riel
    Lesson 28 Macdonald's National Dream

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