French Exploration in North America

French exploration to the New World began with the expedition of Giovanni da Verrazano in 1524. Verrazano also hoped to find a Northwest Passage to China, like many other explorers before and after him; however, his expedition landed in North Carolina. He then sailed north another four months, eventually spending most of his time along the Maine coast. In 1534, Jacques Cartier also set sail with the hopes of finding a Northwest Passage to China. His expedition reached Newfoundland and other nearby territories. In 1535, the French monarchy once again sent Cartier on an expedition to discover a Northwest Passage to the East. On this expedition, Cartier explored the Labrador coast and came upon the North American waterway now known as the St. Lawrence River. Navigating upstream, he found two large native towns, Stadacona (present-day Quebec) and Hochelaga (present-day Montreal). In 1541, Cartier once again sailed to the North American continent; this time he brought with him hundreds of colonists, whose arrival did not sit well with the Stadaconans. Another French expedition, this one led by Jean-Fran§ois de La Rocque, Sieur de Roberval, sailed for North America in 1542. Roberval’s expedition set up a colony of 200 colonists in Newfoundland. These two colonizing expeditions failed due to French encroachment on Native American lands, which led to some French colonists being killed by the natives. The spread of scurvy among the colonists and a lack of food supplies also contributed to the failure of the colonies. The French also attempted to settle in other parts of the North American continent. A Huguenot colony had been set up in Florida in the sixteenth century, but the Spanish destroyed it in 1565. By the mid-sixteenth century, the French monarchy had lost interest in sponsoring expeditions to North America. Due in part to war back in France, the French turned their attention to domestic matters. In the 1580s, however, French interests in the New World were once again rekindled because of their interests in exploiting the fur and fishing trades in the areas around Newfoundland. In 1603, the French monarchy gave Pierre de Gua, Sieur de Monts, the right to settle La Cadie (Acadia). The pilot of de Monts’s expedition was Samuel Champlain. This expedition established a colony along the Bay of Fundy. However, the colonists soon succumbed to disease and the cold of winter and abandoned the site. They eventually founded the first permanent French settlement, which they called Port Royal. Champlain launched a second expedition to the North American continent in 1608. He decided to establish a settlement on the St. Lawrence River instead of in Acadia, because he realized that the fur trade along the St. Lawrence would help sustain a colony. Champlain established Quebec on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, where the native village of Stadacona was located. Champlain did not settle down in Quebec, however; he was too busy in his continued search for a Northwest Passage to the East, visiting the Ottawa River, the Georgian Bay of Lake Huron, and the Iroquois (Richelieu) River. Conclusion While European exploration in the area of North America north of Mexico did not yield the Northwest Passage to the East that so many European countries France, England, the Netherlands, and Spain sought, it did lead to the establishment of trading networks, permanent European colonies, and the exchange of ideas between the native peoples of the New World and Europeans. Yet relations between these two groups were also often volatile, with Native Americans attacking European colonies. Often, this was in response to European encroachment, often backed by armed might, which was driven by the ongoing search for riches, land, labor, and souls. Lisa Y. Ramos See also: Boone, Daniel; Cabot, John; Cabrillo, Juan Rodr­guez; Cartier, Jacques; Columbus, Christopher; Coronado, Francisco Vzquez de; De Soto, Hernando; Drake, Sir Francis; Hakluyt, Richard; Hudson, Henry; Humboldt, Alexander von; Jolliet, Louis; La Salle, Ren Robert Cavelier, Sieur de; Maps and Surveys; Marquette, Jacques; Menndez de Avils, Pedro; O±ate, Juan de; Ponce de Le³n, Juan; Raleigh, Sir Walter; Tordesillas, Treaty of (1494); Verrazano, Giovanni da; Vespucci, Amerigo; Documents: Columbus’s Letter Announcing His Discoveries in the New World (1493); John Cabot’s Discovery of North America (1497); Marquette’s Travels on the Mississippi (1673). Bibliography Axtell, James. Beyond 1492: Encounters in Colonial North America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. Axtell, James. The Invasion Within: The Contest of Cultures in Colonial North America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985. Gleach, Frederic W. Powhatan’s World and Colonial Virginia: A Conflict of Cultures. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997. Hussey, W. D. Discovery, Expansion and Empire. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1954. Johnson, Donald. La Salle: A Perilous Odyssey from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. New York: Cooper Square, 2002. Nobles, Gregory H. American Frontiers: Cultural Encounters and Continental Conquest. New York: Hill and Wang, 1997. Sale, Kirkpatrick. The Conquest of Paradise: Christopher Columbus and the Columbian Legacy. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992. Exploration – Ms. Schoettlin’s 5th Grade Social Studies Articles Encyclopdie du patrimoine culturel de l’Amrique … Samuel de Champlain – Diplomat, Explorer – Biography.com

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