Jacques Cartier was a French explorer of Breton origin who claimed what is now Canada for France. He was the first European to describe and map the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the shores of the Saint Lawrence River which he named “The Country of Canadas”. Cartier made three voyages to Canada in 1534, 1535-1536, and again in 1541-1542.The French king claimed a region called New France for his nation. New France included not only land covered by present-day Canada, but also parts of the present day northern United States. Although he explored the St. Lawrence River as far as the modern-day city of Montreal, he did not succeed in establishing a permanent colony North America. In this way Cartier is not strictly the European discoverer of Canada as this country is understood today, a vast federation stretching a mari usque ad mare (from sea to sea). Eastern parts had previously been visited by the Norse, as well as Basque, Galician and Breton fishermen, and perhaps the Corte-Real brothers and John Cabot (in addition of course to the Natives who first inhabited the territory). Cartier's particular contribution to the discovery of Canada is as the first European to penetrate the continent and more precisely the interior eastern region along the St. Lawrence River. His explorations consolidated France's claim of the territory that would later be colonized as New France, and his third voyage produced the first documented European attempt at settling North America since that of Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón in 1526-27.Cartier's professional abilities can be easily ascertained. Considering that Cartier made three voyages of exploration in dangerous and hitherto unknown waters without losing a ship, and that he entered and departed some 50 undiscovered harbors without serious mishap, he may be considered one of the most conscientious explorers of the period .Cartier was also one of the first to formally acknowledge that the New World was a separate land...
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