Jacques Cartier, a French navigator, born at Saint Malo, Dec. 31, 1494, died about 1555. Under the auspices of Francis I., he was intrusted with the command of an expedition to explore the western hemisphere. He sailed from Saint Malo, April 20, 1534, with two ships of GO tons each, and a crew of 120 men, and in 20 days reached the E. coast of Newfoundland; thence steering N. he entered the straits of Belle Isle, and took possession of the coast of Labrador by planting a cross. He next, turned S. and followed the W. coast of Newfoundland to Cape Bay, when he was borne W. by unfavorable weather toward the Magdalen islands. After visiting them, he continued W., landed at the mouth of the Miraniichi, whence he went with some of his men to explore the bay of Chaleurs, and a few days later sailed with his two ships, to land again a little further N. in the bay of Gaspe, which he mistook for the outlet of a large river. He there had friendly intercourse with the savages, and inspired them with such confidence that one of their chiefs permitted two of his sons to go with him to France, on condition that he would bring them back the following year.
There he planted another wooden cross, to which was attached a shield bearing the arms of his king, and the words, Vive le roi de France! He next proceeded N. E., doubled the E. point of Anti-costi, and entering the channel which separates the island from the continent, sailed up that branch of the St. Lawrence to Mont Joly, not being aware, however, of the existence of the river. Returning, he reached Saint Malo, Sept. 5,1534, after an absence of less than six months. This successful voyage encouraged the king to new efforts; three well furnished ships were fitted out for another expedition, which was joined by some of the young nobility of France, and Cartier was appointed commander, being designated in the commission as "captain and pilot of the king." About the middle of May, 1535, Cartier assembled his companions and men on Whit-Sunday, and repaired to the cathedral, where a solemn mass was celebrated, at which the whole company received the eu-charist and the bishop's blessing. The squadron, consisting of La Grande Hermine, a vessel of 120 tons, La Petite Hermine, of 60, and L'Emerillon, a smaller craft, sailed May 19, carrying several young gentlemen as volunteers, and two chaplains.
Storms soon separated the three vessels, which after a rough voyage arrived successively at their place of rendezvous, the inlet of Blanc Sablon, in the straits of Bello Isle. On July 31 they sailed W. and entered the channel between the mainland and Anti-costi, which he called Ile de l'Assomption; sailed up the river St. Lawrence; saw the mouth of the Saguenay Sept. 1; and on the 14th came to the entrance of a river at Quebec, now called the St. Charles, to which he gave the name of Sainte Croix. The next day he was visited by Donnacona, of Stadacone, agouhinna or king of Canada, with whom he was enabled to converse, the two Indians whom he had the previous year taken from Gaspe to France acting as interpreters. Leaving his two larger ships safely moored, he sailed in the Emerillon up the stream as far as Lake St. Peter; there, his further progress being interrupted by a bar in the river, he took to his boat with three volunteers, and on Oct. 2 arrived at an Indian settlement called Hochelaga, which he called Mont Royal, whence the present name Montreal. On the 5th he left Hochelaga and rejoined his ships at the mouth of the Sainte Croix, where he passed the winter.
With his men he suffered from the severity of the climate, but above all from the scurvy, which made frightful ravages among them; no fewer than 25 soon died; and out of 110 still surviving in February, 1536, only a few were free from the disease. Owing to the reduction of their number, Cartier decided to abandon one vessel, apparently the Petite Hermine. After having taken solemn possession of the land in the name of Francis L, by erecting a cross bearing the arms of France, with the inscription, Franciscus primus, Dei gratia Fran-corum rex, regnat, he sailed May 6, carrying with him Donnacona and nine other chiefs whom he had somewhat treacherously kidnapped; went through the channel S. of Anti-costi, and the straits S. of Newfoundland, and once more reached Saint Malo, July 16, 1536. The hardships which had been incurred during the expedition were not encouraging to colonization; but at last the entreaties of Francois de la Roque, lord of Roberval in Picardy, prevailed; he was appointed viceroy and lieutenant general of the new territories, while Car-tier preserved the title of captain general and chief pilot of the king's ships.
Five vessels were now fitted out; Cartier sailed with two of them, May 23, 1541; he was soon joined by the three others, and they arrived at Sainte Croix Aug. 23. On exploring the neighboring country, Cartier found a better harbor at the mouth of the Cap Rouge river, where he built a fort called Charlesbourg Roval. Here he anchored three of his ships, while the two others returned to France after landing their cargoes. Cartier then visited Hochelaga for the second time, with the particular purpose of ascertaining the obstructions to further navigation. The winter passed in gloom. Toward the end of May, 1542, nothing having been heard from Roberval, provisions becoming scarce, and the savages evincing unfavorable feelings, Cartier sailed for France. On his way he met Roberval; but he continued, steer-ing for France, where he arrived without any further accident. In the autumn of 1543 he made his fourth voyage to Canada, sent by the king to bring back Roberval, who had wintered at Charlesbourg Royal or France Roi, as he called it. Cartier wintered in Canada, and finally left it about May, 1544. From that time he lived quietly, either at Saint Malo or at the village of Limoilon; the precise date of his death is unknown.
A brief but interesting account of his second expedition appeared anonymously in 1545. The journals of the first two journeys of Cartier are inserted in vol. iii. of Ramusio's Italian collection (Venice, 1565); also abridged in Marc Lescarbot's Histoire de la Nouvelle France; a French translation of Ramusio's account of the first voyage was printed at Rouen in 1598, and reprinted in 1865; and the journals appeared in the original French in 1867. A description of his third journey is in vol. iii. of Hakluyt's "Principal Navigations," etc. (1600). The whole series have been collected by the Quebec historical society.
Jacques Cartier, a county of Quebec, Canada, occupying the W. portion of Montreal island; area, 87 1/2 sq. m.; pop. in 1871, 11,179, of whom 9,766 were of French descent. It is mostly level, with a fertile and well cultivated soil. It is traversed by the Grand Trunk railway. Capital, Pointe Claire.