Many people played significant roles in the contact and colonization of New France but none so much as the European leaders of expeditions and the chiefs of the native tribes. Though there are vast amounts native chiefs and European explorers who are significant to the contact and colonization of New France, the three I have decided to focus on are: Chief Membertou, Jacques Cartier, and Christopher Columbus. This page will explain these three individuals in detail and explain their significance to the contact and colonization of New France.
Jacques Cartier was born in St. Malo, France on December 31st 1491. Jacques Cartier is significant to the contact and colonization of New France because he led three main French expeditions in to what is called Canada and made many of the land claims French had at the time. He is the European credited with naming Canada from the First Nations word “kanata” which means village or settlement. He is significant to French colonization because he was the one who originally laid down French claims in North America. In 1534, Francis I of French commissioned him to explore the northern part of what is now Canada, to look for gold and spices. His first journey took him, two ships and a crew of 61 to the St. Laurence seaway where he stumbled upon a First Nations tribe on July 7th. The two groups talked and swapped items, with is the first recorded trade between the French and the North American First Nations. Though the relationship wasn’t all sunshine and roses between the French and the First Nations tribes! The relationship was tarnished when Cartier “claimed” Gaspé Bay, put up a 30-foot cross at Pointe-Penouille, lied to Donnacona, the Native chief in the area saying the cross was an “insignificant landmark”, and last but certainly not least he kidnapped two of the sons of chief Donnacona. A year later Cartier returned to France with Domagaya and Taignoagny, the sons of Donnacona and stories of fertile land and natural wealth, drawing the attention and approval of Francis I launching two more, larger expeditions to North America. The second voyage Jacques Cartier sailed by modern day Quebec and set up a headquarters on the Sainte-Croix (Saint-Charles) river, and five days later travelled to Montreal. Following this second voyage, back in France, Francis I urged Cartier to colonize Canada. He goes back on his last and final voyage to the new world sets up the French village of Montréal and goes back to France never to return to North America.
Christopher Columbus was born in the Republic of Genoa, Italy in October 1451. Columbus began and mastered the art of sailing as a teenager. Columbus is significant...