Jacques Cartier Lesson for Kids: Biography & Facts

Instructor: Jenny Homer

Jenny has masters' degrees in public health and public administration.

Jacques Cartier was a French explorer who discovered the area that is Canada today. Learn about his travels, his successes, and his disappointments on his journeys.

Who is Jacques Cartier?

Jacques Cartier

You probably have heard of the country of Canada, just north of the United States. But do you know how it got its name? We have Jacques Cartier and the Iroquois people to thank. Cartier was an explorer from France who made several trips to North America in the 1500s.

Jacques Cartier was born in 1491 in France, just one year before Columbus sailed to the part of the world called the Indies, which is the Western Hemisphere. Kings and Queens in Europe during that time were sending explorers to look for gold, spices, and a faster way to get to Asia. Cartier was one of these explorers.

Cartier's First Trip to North America

King Francis I sent Cartier to explore the northern part of the Americas in 1534 with two ships. This was the first of three trips that he would make across the ocean. He explored Canada's coast, found some new lands like Prince Edward Island, and met with the Iroquois, a Native American people who lived there. Many Iroquois were farmers who grew pumpkins, corn, and beans, and they also hunted and fished. Two Iroquois men went back to France with Cartier.

Cartier meeting with the Iroquois Indians.

Cartier's Second Trip

On the second trip, Cartier had more men and a third ship. He brought the Iroquois back with him, and they helped Cartier find his way around. He sailed along the St. Lawrence River in Canada and reached the area around Quebec and Montreal. The Iroquois he met told him that if he continued west along the rivers, he would find riches like gold, silver, and spices.

Sailing the St. Lawrence River

Timing can make all the difference, and this was definitely the case with Cartier. His first trip was during the spring and summer months. But the second was in the fall. Cartier had no way of knowing what winters in Canada are like. What a cold surprise!! They were freezing. Many of Cartier's crew died from disease, and by this time the French and Iroquois were not getting along. When the weather warmed up, Cartier captured more Iroquois and went back to France.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account