Born in Brittany, one of the leading provinces engaged in the Grand Banks fishing industry, Cartier (1491–1557) became a sailor of some repute in his home of Saint-Malo. After Brittany was annexed to France in 1534, King Francis I commissioned him to follow up on Verrazano’s efforts to find a passage to the Pacific. On this first voyage, Cartier and his crew came into contact with a number of Native American people; they traded with them and kidnapped two boys to take back to France. On his second voyage, Cartier sailed up the St. Lawrence River where he was trapped by bad weather and forced to stay over the winter of 1535–1536. After returning to France, he came again to the St. Lawrence in 1541, this time with orders to establish a permanent colony. He established a fort that he called Charlesbourg-Royal at Cap Rouge, now part of the city of Quebec. He returned to France in 1542 and never returned to the New World.

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