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Pre-settlement New France : a curious timeline 
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Old 05-13-2010, 04:04 PM   Post #1
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Default Pre-settlement New France : a curious timeline

Only curious to me, because I was not formerly aware of some of the items before :

330 B.C.

Pytheas a Phoenician (Greek) explorer sail the Atlantic to a land called Thule beyond Britain. It is noteworthy they had the technology to achieve this voyage but hard proof is lacking.


Celtic Monks from Greenland are believed to have established a colony on Brion Island (Magdalen Island) in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and to have eventually settled on Cape Breton Island. Their settlement by Scandinavian tradition is called Huitraamannland. It is believed they are gradually absorbed into the Micmac or Mi'-Kmaq tradition.


August: Bjarni Herjolfsson is blown off course and is believed to have sighted Labrador, Canada. The Beothuk Peoples occupied Newfoundland but usually remained inland or on the west coast. This could account for a lack of sighting by Bjarni Herjolfsson, the Viking, who arrived this year. Later accounts would classify the Beothuk as being six feet tall and light complexioned. The account went on to say when they dressed in European cloths, they looked like Englishmen. This account is probably intended as an insult towards the Beothuk. The Beothuk and Dorset people known to be very friendly had established peaceful coexistence with other people of the Newfoundland region.


Lief Eirksson set out to explore Vinland (Newfoundland) with 35 men, returning with wild wheat, wild grapes and trees called mosurr (likely maple).


Birth, L'anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, Snorri Thorfinnesson, the first recorded Canadian European birth who died Iceland.


Jon, a Celt or Saxon priest, is reported killed in Vineland, by the natives. No reason is recorded for this death.


Adam of Bremen, a German priest, in a history of the Archbishopric of Hamburg mentioned the existence of Vinland. This was most likely communicated to the Vatican.


This century saw the peak of the New Viking Colony on Greenland that included nearly 300 homesteads and a population of about 5,000.


In Welsh mythology, Madoc an explorer and Prince sailed from Wales and discovered America about this year.


A shipwreck in Iceland with a cargo of wood is speculated to have originated from Cape Breton Island.


Paul Knutsson, a Norwegian, was sent to Greenland to restore the recognition of the Church of Rome in the region. He sailed into Hudson Strait, into Hudson Bay and James Bay, landing near the mouth of the Albany River and inland to Lake Nipigon.


Basque sailors are in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.


The Scottish society claim that Henry Sinclair of the Orkney Islands of Norway sailed with 12 ships and 300 men, landing in Guysborough, Acadia (Nova Scotia) on June 12, 1398. They claim that navigator logs in Venice record this trip. They also claim that a Micmac or Mi'-Kmaq legend speaks of bearded visitors with red hair and green eyes who showed them how to fish with nets.


Basque whalers from France and Spain are fishing off the coast of Labrador. Some suggest the word Labrador comes from the word labradores meaning workers or more literally slaves as Labrador was considered a source of slaves for the slave trade. It is noteworthy that Newfoundland was also called Terra del Laboratore meaning 'land of the slaves'.


The Vinland Map of this year clearly shows Newfoundland but other maps end with Greenland (ultimus terre terminus), the furthest land known.


Some believe the first Spanish Basques landed Terranova (Canada) this year. Others suggest it was earlier.


Johaunes Scolvus, a Danish explorer, claimed to have wintered in the Nunavut Territory (Hudson Bay). Nunavut means our land by the Inuit (Eskimo).


English merchants of Bristowe claim to have visited Beothuk Territory (Newfoundland).


The Treaty of Tordesillas gave Spain possession of Newfoundland, Canada and, in fact, all of America.


Gaspar Corte-Real (1450-1501?) of Portugal Azores sailed west but failed to make land fall. Some suggest that he reached Greenland. This could be confused with the March 5 sailing of Giovanni Caboto Montecataluna (1450-1498) or John Cabot; an Italian merchant who sailed from Bristol and was forced to return before making land fall. Gaspar may have been included among the crew.


King Henry VII commissioned the Great Admiral Giovanni Caboto Montecataluna (John Cabot) (1450-1498), an Italian, and his sons, Sebastian and Sancio, to sail to all parts of the Eastern, Western and Northern Sea. They are "to subdue, occupy, and possesse" any new peoples or lands. He departed Bristol, sailed 700 leagues west, and arrived with a crew of 18 at the Isle of Baccalaos (Newfoundland) this year. They sailed its coast for 300 leagues, not seeing a single person but did discover signs of inhabitants. Some suggest they sailed to St. John's Island (Prince Edward Island). He believed he had reached the land of the Great Khan. John Cabot wrote that the lands he observed were most likely previously visited by those of Bristol who found el Brasil.

Giovanni Caboto Montecataluna (1450-1498) encountered the Beothuk who ornamented their skin with red ochtre and appeared red-skinned to Cabot and his men. And the name red skin was applied to all natives of America.

June 24: Giovanni Caboto Montecataluna (1450-1498) or John Cabot and his son Sabastian Cabot is believed to have landed Capr Breton Island. It is noteworthy that on Capre Breton Island between Cape North and Ingonish lies over 200 known shipwrecks.

August 6: Cabot departed Maine or Acadia ( Nova Scotia) for England.


May: Admiral Giovanni Caboto Montecataluna (John Cabot) (1450-1498), with five ships, departed Bristol. One ship was damaged in a storm and returned to Ireland. The other four were presumed lost at sea with all hands- including Cabot.


Gaspar Cortereal (1450-1500), on his second voyage with his brother Michel (1450-1502), sailed with three ships from Lisbon to the New Lands. They passed Greenland, as it was ice bound, and entered Davis Strait. He captured a number of native slaves and called the land Terra Labrador. Some contend that Gaspar sailed into the Northwest Passage in his 1500 exploration trip.

Gasper Corte-Real sailed to Newfoundland and discovered European artifacts that he presumed were from the Cabot expedition.

Joao Fernandes of the Portuguese Azores sailed to Cape Farewell at the southern tip of Greenland that he called Tera del Lavrador. Some suggest he sail on to Newfoundland.

October: Alberto Cantino returned with two ships to Lisbon, Portugal with 57 Beothuk slaves from Canada for display. Corte-Real arrived in Greenland, then went on to Labrador and down the coast to the New Found Land. On his return trip they are presumed lost at sea with 50 native slaves on board.


It is believed the Portuguese are fishing off Newfoundland this year. Gasper Corte-Real with three ships arrived Newfoundland took 57 slaves and returned to Portugal. Corte was last seen sailing south and his fait is unknown.

Joao Fernandes of the Portuguese Azores obtained from Henry VII a patent for the Anglo-Azorean Syndicate to explore anywhere in the world. No records remain of their voyages.


The Bristol Company is formed and the following traders are associated with the company, Thomas Ashenhurst, Hugh Eliot, William Clerk, and William Thorne

One of the earliest maps of Canada, drawn by an unknown Portuguese mapmaker, shows the lands southwest of Greenland and labels Canada as Terra Del Roy de Portugall. Others suggest that Basque fishermen, prior to 1502, had named the new lands Bacallao; meaning cod. It is believed that fishermen also visited the shores of Acadia ( Nova Scotia). England recorded their first cargo of Newfoundland fish. Three American Indian slaves are presented at the court of Henry VII.

Spanish maps this year also display Florida.

January: Miguel Corte-Real went in search of his half-brother and his ship went down with all hands.

May: Miguel Corte Real (1450-1502) sailed from Lisbon, Portugal with three ships in search of his brother, Gaspar, and search the shores of Labrador. Miguel himself is lost this year.


The Bristol Company tried to form a colony on Newfoundland this year and it is not know if they were successful. Some records suggest some of the company may have wintered in Newfoundland this winter. These include Thomas Ashenhurst, Hugh Eliot, William Clerk, and William Thorne.


St. John's Newfoundland is believed established this year as a fish processing village, with some likely remaining all year. The French are believed fishing off Newfoundland this year.

Vasco Anes Corte Real, a third brother from Lisbon, Portugal, sailed to the New Lands in search of brothers Gaspar and Miguel, but returned this year with no new information.

On the north shore at the western entrance to the Strait of Belle Island (Newfoundland) is the ancient harbor of Brest. A French fort called Old Fort Bay (Baie de Vieux Fort) is founded this year by French Britons. Basque, Norman and Briton fishermen have been known to use this Bay since 1500 and maybe earlier. A Reinel map places a Portuguese flag on Canada. The Jesuit believed New France was discovered by French Bretons this year.


Captain George Waymouth seized five slaves off the coast of New England.


Portugal began levying custom duties on codfish from North America. Jean Denys of Honfleur, Normandy sailed to the New Lands, returning with fish and geographical charts of his discovery. It is claimed that he established the first Norman fishing village in the New Found Land called Le Havre de Jean Denys, now called Renews, on the east coast of the Avalon Peninsula.


Bernadinus Venetus Vitalibus (Rome) displays the Ruysch (Johannes) world map of 1507 or 1508 which clearly displays the East Coast of America, including the Hudson Bay. Newfoundland is recorded as Terra Nova, and Greenland is attached to the main land. Many inland rivers are recorded and named. This work is a composite of all known voyager records residing in Rome, and represents their accumulated knowledge of Canada.


Thomas Aubert of Dieppe, France, a slave trader, sailed up the St. Lawrence River to be the first recorded to discover Quebec, and returned with native slaves from the future New France.

Sebastian Caboto (Cabot) (1480-1557), son John Cabot the Italian, claims to have taken two vessels to the north of Terra de Labrador and sailed through the straits to the point where it opened to the southward (Hudson Bay). He assumed it was the Pacific Ocean. He was seeking Asia, and claimed he would have reached it if his crew had not mutinied, as they were running out of food. Some claim he may have sailed as far south as Cuba. They returned in 1509. Cabot entered Spanish service in 1512.


Based on the chronicon of Eusebius (Paris 1512), says in 1509 Thomas Aubert of Rouen brought seven Indian slaves to Normandy. This account was published in 1512. Other accounts suggest they are recovered from a canoe drifting in the Atlantis Ocean. This could be a mixing of the legend from Lubec, Germanie (1153 A.D.) of one canoe with Indians from the coast of Baccalaos from a land of the same latitude of Germaine.


The French vessel named Jacquette arrived at Rouen, France loaded with fish caught off the New Found Lands.


Baron de Lery landed Sable Island, a barren sand-bank, 120 miles S.E. Acadia ( Nova Scotia). He left behind some domestic animals that were still evident in 1593.


Francois I issued a challenge to the King of Spain by writing: "Show me, I pray you, the will of our father Adam, that I may see if he has really made you and the King of Portugal his universal heirs."


The Portuguese, Spanish and French ships, numbering about 50, are fishing the Grand Banks off the New Found Lands.


Baron de Lery of Portugal established a colony on Sable Island off the southern tip of Acadia ( Nova Scotia) and at Canso on the northern tip of Acadia ( Nova Scotia). They landed horses and cattle at both locations. Both settlements would eventually fail. Some suggest Baron de Lery is of France?


Joao Alvares Fagundes from Viana, Portugal explored the south coast of Newfoundland, the coast from Maine to Sable Island. The Gulf of St. Lawrence is noted on maps of this date. Some suggest he established a Portuguese colony on Cape Breton Island, but it failed. Upon his return, he was given a land grant of Acadia ( Nova Scotia) by the King.

Joao Alvarez Fagundes of Portugal sailed to Newfoundland, explored the Gulf of St. Lawrence, discovered St. Pierre, Miquelon and other Islands off the south coast of Newfoundland. Fagundes returned to Portugal and obtain a Royal patent to establish a colony.


Joao Alvarez Fagundes of Portugal at Ingonish, Cape Breton Island tried to establish a colony and established a station for curing fish. He also established a colony at St. Annes Bay this year. His competitors in the area challenged his claim by destroying his gear. Some say the Natives turned hostile likely being riled up by his competitors. He had enough and pulled up stakes and sailed to the Bay of Fundy and some think he might of reached the Penobscot River of Maine.

Pedro de Quejo (Quexos) explored Chesapeake Bay.


In 1687 France produced original acts and titles dated to this time claiming ownership to the Bay of the North (Hudson Bay).

Giovanni Verrazzano (1485-1528) of Florence sailed for France to Acadia ( Nova Scotia) and Cape Breton Island, and claimed that America was not joined to either Asia or Africa but that Canada was joined to the rest of America. He likely received this information from the Natives, as he went out of his way to avoid the Spanish.

The Jesuit claim Jean Verazan (Giovanni Verrazzano) (1485-1528) this year took possession of the 33rd degree north latitude up to the 47th degree for King Francis of France and this would include the Carolina's and north.


Esteban Gomez, a Spanish explorer, included Newfoundland as part of Archadia (Acadia).

(I)-Giovanni da Verrazzano (Jean Verazan) (1485-1528) of Dieppe used an Abenaki word to name the Penobscot River in Maine, Norumbega, Oranbega, meaning a stretch of still water between rapids. His cartographer brother Girolamo da Verrazano included it on his map of 1529. A myth grew up around Norumbega.

(I)-Giovanni da Verrazzano (Jean Verazan) (1485-1528) named the area Archadia and by the 1620's the name Acadia was in common use.

The term Acadia appear about this time and made reference to lands from Newfoundland to Maine depending on time and map makers. The coast of America was eventually divided into Acadia, Virginia and Florida. Giovanni de Verrazzano, (1485-1528) an Italian sailing for France was charting the coast of America and used the term Archadia this year. He sailed with his 50 man crew from Virginia, north up the coast to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and southern part of Quebec. Estaban Gornex, (1483-1538) a Portuguese and his 29 man crew sailed into the Bay of Fundy, and also named the area Archadia at this time which suggests it might be named prior to this time. Estaban Gornex, (1483-1538) returned with 58 slaves captured on the coast of Maine or Nova Scotia.

January 1: Giovanni da Verrazano (1485-1528) with his brother Girolamo da Verrazano and a crew of 50 men sailed for Cathay, Asia and landed near Cape Fear, North Carolina. He explored south and north from this position. At Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, he named it Arcadia because of the beautiful stands of tall trees.

March 1: (I)-Giovanni da Verrazzano (Jean Verazan) (1485-1528) of Dieppe visited Labrador, Newfoundland and as far south as the Carolinas, claiming all these lands for the King of France. The New Lands are called New France. Actually, the new lands were called Archadia which got shortened to Acadia, and was only applied to the area of the Maritime Provinces of Canada by about the1620's. Acadia, however, would become known as a culture rather than a specific geographic location. It is noteworthy that the Spanish were in these waters, and Verrazzano went out of his way to avoid them. He was killed in the Caribbean in 1528; some believed he was eaten by cannibals. It is noteworthy that Arcadie was likely derived from the MicMac or Mi'-Kmaq term Cadie or Chadie; meaning safe, sheltered harbor. Arcadie, from Verrazzano's perspective, means a legendary place of beauty and peace. Arcadie was applied by some to all the east coast of America. It is noteworthy that (I)-Giovanni da Verrazzaino, the Italian, sailing for France was trying to discover the westward passage to China.

April 17: Giovanni da Verrazano (1485-1528), Frenchman, reached New York Bay. In a small boat he went to the Upper Bay and said the shores were crowded with people. He did not land but returned to his ship due to unfavorable winds. He sailed on to the Island of Rhodes (Rhode Island or Block Island). There were fires burning all along the shore likely a signal for trade but he couldn't land. At Narragansett Bay the Natives (Narragansetts) off Point Judith approached in canoes for trade. At Newport harbor he encountered Narragansett spokemen and recorded that these people are the most beautiful and the most civil of customs that we have found. They are taller than we are; they are bronze of color, some tending more toward whiteness, others to tawny color; the face is clear-cut, the hair is long and black; the eyes are black and alert, and their manner is sweet and gentle, very like the manner of the ancients. They went about naked except for deerskins covering their private parts. They went on to Casco Bay, Maine to trade with the Abenakis who were not as friendly as the Narragansetts. They then sailed on to Newfoundland.


February: Estevan (Estevao) Gomez (Gomes), a Spanish slave trader, raided Acadia ( Nova Scotia) and Maine for slaves after exploring the Gulf of St. Lawrence and sighting Privce Edward Island..

Pedro de Quejo (Quexos) and Francisco Gordillo on a slave trading expedition entered Chesapeake Bay on the Maryland/Virginia mainland.


May 20: John Rut, an Englishman, departed London and sailed up the Labrador coast to Hawke Bay then south to the West Indies looking for a passage to Asia. When at St. John's Newfoundland, he noted 14 Portuguese and French fishing ships. An accompanying English ship, the Samson, were separated in a storm and is believed to have sailed northward from Newfoundland and is presumed lost. It is also known that Basque whalers had established a station at Red Bay, Labrador about this time.

August 3: St. John, Newfoundland John Rut observed 11 Norman ships, one from Brittaine and two Portugal barques all a fishing. The Portuguese founded a colony on Cape Breton Island but little is known about its location or abandonment.


The Ribeiro Map, a Spanish map, displayed a continuous coast from Labrador to Florida, as did the Ruysch map of 1507

In the Strait of Belle Isle, Whaling, cod fishing and fur trading is being conducted.


The Portuguese called Newfoundland at this time Baccalaos which means cod.


The Micmac or Mi'-Kmaq understood the Europeans and enthusiastically came for trade, but sent their young women to hide in the woods. Many of the men aboard Cartier's ships had previously sailed the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The Iroquois are in possession of European artifacts in the St. Lawrence River system as far as present day Quebec City. Others claim that the Iroquois that Carter met were there by the authority of the Algonkins who controlled the Canadian Valley.

(I)-Jacques Cartier (1491-1557) reported seeing a huge number of whales off Canada's coast but wasn't very excited. The Basques however were very interested, it was their number one priority.

March 18: King Francis I sent (I)-Jacques Cartier (1491-1557), a common pirate, to the 'New Found Land' to find a route to the Orient and to discover great quantities of gold and other riches. Jacques Cartier (1491-1557), the St. Malo navigator, considered the people of the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence as having well formed bodies, but considered them wild and savage folk. He considered the closely cropped hair of the natives as being monstrously ugly. He considered Natives bathing daily in the streams, to be a heathenish practice. Europeans, at this time and for the next one hundred years or more, believed that bathing more than once a year could cause health problems. Cartier considered the coast of Labrador to be the land of Cain. He later landed on Prince Edward Island and found it more to his liking. At the Gaspe Peninsula they traded with 300 savages from Stadacona (Kebec), and it is quite obvious they had previous dealings with Europeans. At Natashquan Point, twelve Indians (Montagnais) came as freely on board our vessels as if they had been Frenchmen. They are mostly interested in iron knives and hatchets. The savages from Stadacona were fishing. They, however, were farmers growing corn (Maze), squash and beans. They used pottery and had permanent residences, and their government was more elaborate than the Europeans. However, they had nothing of value. Furs at this time were not considered important. The few furs traded were with the Basque fishermen. Cartier seized some of the natives and carried them on board his ships. The relations with the Indians were so friendly that he was able, by gifts and explanations, to persuade them that he meant no harm. Two of them were finally detained on board and carried to France.

March 25: The Marguerite Antoinette from La Rochelle, France departed to the 'New Found Lands' with a crew of 19. It is believed they were in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence when Jacques Cartier (1491-1557) arrived.

May 10: (I)-Jacques Cartier (1491-1557) landed Cape Bonavista, Newfoundland.

May 20: (I)-Jacques Cartier (1491-1557) sailed up the coast of Labrador looking for the passage to Asia. By early June they reached Chateau Bay that had been in use as a fishing station for a number of years. He sailed the strait of Belle Isle.

June 15: (I)-Jacques Cartier (1491-1557) sailed the west coast of Newfoundland.

June 29: (I)-Jacques Cartier (1491-1557) sighted Prince Edward Island and was unaware that Estevaco Gomes (Esteban Gomez) in 1525 and likely Joao Alvarez Fagundes in 1520 had seen it before him.

July 6: (I)-Jacques Cartier (1491-1557) in Port Daniel encountered a fleet of 40-50 Micmac or Mi'-Kmaq canoes laden with pelts for trade. This was a clear indication Europeans had previously traded with them before.

July 25: (I)-Jacques Cartier (1491-1557) in Gaspe Bay Harbour met a party of 300 Huron mackerel fishing.

August: (I)-Jacques Cartier (1491-1557) and his crew of 61 men in two ships returned to France.


The ship Christophe sailed from La Rochelle, France to the 'New Found Land' with a crew of 22 for fishing and lumber for profit.

Jacques Cartier (1491-1557), the pirate, first reported the Iles de Mingan this year. Surveys have uncovered Spanish coins and the remains of Basque habitations as well as native burial grounds, that all predate Cartier's visit. It is noteworthy that the Indians were considered savage before the arrival of Cartier. He said, "This people may be called savage, for they are the sorriest folks there can be in the world, and the whole lot of them had not anything above the value of five sous; their canoes and fishing-nets excepted." They made all the young woman retire into the woods except two or three who remained. This clearly indicated that Europeans were already known for the capture and rape of young women. Cartier would, however kidnap two young men, even though the Indians were wary. Cartier did observe that the Indians were physically bigger and stronger than the French, which indicated their diet was superior to that of Europeans. He found their communal holdings (like the early Christians), rather than private property, had little to recommend it. He was impressed with their agricultural knowledge. (I)- Jacques Cartier (1491-1557) at Hochelaga (Montreal) commented on the extensive fields of corn. Corn, squash and beans are known as 'the three sisters' by the People and tradition suggests they should be planted together.

Jacques Cartier (1491-1557) admitted that several French and Brittany fishing boats were in the area when he arrived and that they had been fishing the area for years. He admitted that these fishermen had named St. Pierre Island off the south coast of Newfoundland and not him. Most areas of Newfoundland, Labrador, Quebec, and Acadia coasts were well explored by these fishermen long before the arrival of Cartier.

Those listed on Jacques Cartier (1491-1557) (74 out of 110) are listed as follows:

Jacques Cartier, captain.
Thomas Fourmont, master of the nef.
Guillaume Le Breton Bastille, captain and pilot of the galleon.
Jacques Maingard, master of the galleon.
Macé Jalobert, captain and pilot of the Corrlieu
Guillaume Le Marié, master of the Courlieu
Laurens Boulain.
Estienne Nouel.
Pierres Esmery, dit Talbot.
Michel Hervé.
Estienne Pommerel.
Michel Audiepvre.
Brand Sauboscq.
Richard Cobaz.
Lucas Saumur.
Françoys Guitault, apothecary.
Georget Mabille.
Guillaume Sequart, carpenter.
Robin Le Tort.
Sanson Ripault, barber.
Françoys Guillot.
Guillaume Esnault, carpenter.
Jehan Dabin, carpenter.
Jehan du Nort, carpenter.
Jullien Golet.
Thomas Boulain.
Michel Philipot.
Jehan Hamel.
Jehan Fleury.
Guillaume Guilbert.
Colas Barbé.
Laurens Guillot.
Guillaume Bochier.
Michel Eon.
Jehan Anthoine.
Michel Maingard.
Jehan Maryen.
Bertrand Apvril.
Gilles Ruffin.
Geoffroy Ollivier.
Guillaume De Guernezé.
Eustache Grossin.
Guillaume Alliecte.
Jehan Raby.
Pierres Marquier, trumpeter.
Guillaume Le Gentilhomme.
Raoullet Maingard.
Françoys Duault.
Hervé Henry.
Yvon Le Gal.
Anthoine Aliecte.
Jehan Colas.
Jacques Prinsault.
Dom Guillaume Le Breton.
Dom Anthoine.
Phelippes Thomas, carpenter.
Jacques Du Bog.
Jullien Plancouet.
Jehan Go.
Jehan Le Gentilhomme.
Michel Donquan, carpenter.
Jehan Aismery, carpenter.
Piweew Maingart.
Lucas Clavier.
Goulhet Riou.
Jehan Jac, de Morbihen.
Pierres Nyel.
Le Gendre Estienne le Blanc.
Jehan Pierres.
Jehan coumyn.
Anthoine Des Granches.
Louys Douayran.
Pierres Coupeaulx.
Pierres Jonchée, etc.

Trois Rivieres is a summer trading post for the various Peoples (Savages)

March 25: Guillaume Gatz from Paimpol sailed the Marguerite Antoinette with 19 men to Terreneuve and likely into the St. Lawrence Gulf. Jacques Cartier (1491-1557) noted that other ships were in the gulf when he arrived.

May 19: Three ships departed St. Malo for the new world, namely Grande Hermine, Petite Hermine and Ermillon containing 112 men. These ships included Claud de Pointriant, Charles de la Pommeraye, Jean Poulet, Jean Guton and Jacques Cartier (1491-1557).

Summer: (I)-Jacques Cartier (1491-1557) sailed up the St Lawrence River to the future sites of Quebec and Montreal. The Iroquois occupied Montreal at this time. The wintered in New France and returned to France in 1536.

July 7: The ship Grande Hermine arrived in Newfoundland, followed by the other two ships on July 26.

October 2: (I)-Jacques Cartier (1491-1557) reached Montreal, described Trois Riviers and Kabec. He named the region Canada.


(I)-Philipie Rougemont (1518-1536) died at Kebec, Canada being part of Jacques Cartier (1491-1557) crew.

Jacques Cartier (1491-1557) is believed to have named New France Canada this year. It is believed that Cartier traveled with Verrazzano to Canada in 1524 and 1528. It is also believed he was in Newfoundland prior to 1534.

Jacques Cartier (1491-1557) is impressed with the town of Monte Real (Hochelaga); a fortified Iroquois Fort, as it closely resembled European culture. The fields round about are very fertile, being tilled, and grapes are abundant. The Iroquois had amassed muskrat pelts between Quebec and Montreal from trade with the Europeans.

The first tourists to Canada are 30 gentlemen who chartered a ship under the direction of Richard Hore of London to see the strange things of the world. They ran out of provisions in Newfoundland and reverted to cannibalism. Richard Hakluyt interviewed a survivor who said the English gentlemen killed their fellow mates while they stopped to take up a root for their relief and cutting out pieces of his body who he had murdered broiled the same on the coals and greedily devoured them. A well-provisioned French fishing ship saves Richard Hore and the surviving tourists. Hore captured the French ship and, left its crew to an unrecorded fate, and sailed home.

May 6: Jacques Cartier (1491-1557) had to abandon his ship, Petite Hermine, as he lack sufficient crew to navigate all three ships.


Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca (1490-1557), the Great Spanish explorer who spent 1527-1537 exploring the interior of America, having lived among the Indians, reports the French pirates are attacking Spanish ships out of Havana. The Spanish have recently lost three ships. As they neared Spain, the French pirates again tried to take the Spanish ships but are scared off by the Spanish navy. He noted that the French ship employed slave Negroes as oarsmen, so the Spanish ships could not overtake them in the pursuit.


September: The King of France commissioned the following list of men for the New Lands (Lands of Cod): 120 mariners, 40 musketeers, 30 carpenters, 10 master masons, 4 blacksmiths, 2 goldsmiths and 6 priests.

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The Venetian brothers Zeno, between 1380 and 1390, probably made a voyage from the Shetland Islands to Iceland and Greenland, and in their letters home to their Italian brethren they seem to have given a picturesque account of what they had learned about the country lying still farther to the southwest. French, Breton, and Basque fishing vessels very likely visited the cod banks in the western Atlantic during the fifteenth century ; but if they did, they were careful not to let the information of their valuable discovery reach their rivals.

  • From a letter which Columbus himself wrote, and which we find quoted in Washington Irving's Columbus, we know positively that while the design of attempting the discovery in the west was maturing in the mind of Columbus, he made a voyage to the north of Europe, and visited Iceland. This was in February, 1477, and in his conversation with the Bishop and other learned men of Iceland, he must have been informed of the extraordinary fact, that their countrymen had discovered a great country beyond the western ocean, which seemed to extend southward to a great distance. This was a circumstance not likely to rest quietly in the active and speculative mind of the great geographer and navigator. The reader will observe that, when Columbus was in Iceland, in the year 1477, fifteen years before he discovered America, only one hundred and thirty years had elapsed since the last Norse expedition to Vinland. There were undoubtedly people still living those grandfathers had crossed the Atlantic, and it would be altogether unreasonable to suppose that he, who was constantly studying and talking about geography and navigation, possibly could visit Iceland and not hear anything of the land in the west.

  • Gudrid, the wife of Thorfinn and mother of Snorre, made a pilgrimage to Rome after the death of her husband. It is related that she was well received, and she certainly must have talked there of her ever memorable trans-oceanic voyage to Vinland, and her three years' residence there. Rome paid much attention to geographical discoveries, and took pains to collect all new charts and reports that were brought there. Every new discovery was an aggrandizement of the papal dominion, a new field for the preaching of the Gospel. The Romans might have heard of Vinland before, but she brought personal evidence.

  • That Vinland was known at the Vatican is clearly proved by the fact that Pope Paschal II, in the year 1112, appointed Erik Upsi, Bishop of Iceland, Greenland and Vinland, and Erik Upsi went personally to Vinland in the year 1121.

  • Recent developments in relation to Columbus tend to prove that he had opportunity to see a map of Vinland, procured from the Vatican for the Pinzons, and it would indeed astonish more to learn that he, with his nautical knowledge did not hear of America than that he did. We must also bear in mind that Columbus lived in an age of discovery ; England, France, Portugal and Spain were vying with each other in discovering new lands and extending their territories.


We have a remarkable record of the early discovery of America by the Norsemen in the writings of Adam of Bremen, a canon and historian of high authority, who died in the year 1076. He visited the Danish king Svend Estridson, a nephew of Canute the Great, and on his retun home he wrote a book "On the Propagation of the Chrisitian Religion in the North of Europe," and at the end of this book he added a geographical treatise "On the Position of Denmark and other regions beyond Denmark." Having given an account of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Greenland, he says that, "besides these there is still another region, which has been visited by many, lying in that Ocean (the Atlantic), which is called VINLAND, because wines grow there spontaneously, producing very good wine ; corn likewise springs up there without being sown ; " and as Adam of Bremen closes his account of Vinland he adds these remarkable words : "This we know not by fabulous conjecture, but from positive statements of the Danes." Now, Adam of Bremen's work was first published in the year 1073, and was read by intelligent men throughout Europe, and Columbus being an educated man, and so deeply interested in geographical studies, especially when they treated of the Atlantic Ocean, could he be ignorant of so important a work?


The fault that we find with Columbus is, that he was not honest himself and frank enough to tell where and how he had obtained his previous information about the lands which he pretended to discover ; that he sometimes talked of himself as chosen by Heaven to make this discovery, and that he made the fruits of his labors subservient to the dominion of inquisition. If our theory, then, does not make Columbus out as true and good a man as the reader may have considered him, we still insist that it proves him a man of extraordinary ability. It shows that he discovered America by study and research, and not by accident or inspiration. Care should always be taken to vindicate great names from accident or inspiration. It defeats one of the most salutary purposes of history and biography, which is to furnish examples of what human genius and laudable enterprise can accomplish.


If the communication between Vinland and the North could have been maintained say one hundred years longer, that is, to the middle of the fifteenth century, it is difficult to determine what the result would have been. Possibly this sketch would have appeared in Icelandic instead of English. Undoubtedly the Norse colonies would have become firmly rooted by that time, and Norse language, nationality and institutions might have played as conspicuous a part in America as the English and their posterity do nowadays.

Also :
  • Scandinavian civilization developed into a maritime culture during the Bronze Age.
  • The Scandinavian nations had oceangoing vessels by the time of Christ, perhaps earlier.
  • Recitation of Viking history at social events was important for the prestige of the chieftains. Exaggeration and prevarication were unforgivable sins.
  • Large oceangoing merchant vessels, called Knorrs, were utilized for transoceanic voyages, not the famous longships.
  • Helge Ingstad discovered a Viking settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland.
  • Paul Chapman's study of the Viking presence in North America identified the entire island of Newfoundland as Vinland.
  • Another possible Viking habitation site exists at Ungava Bay in Canada. It needs further study.


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Old 05-13-2010, 07:50 PM   Post #3
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Mathieu Da Costa and Early Canada: possibilities and probabilities

Sometimes what we do not know is even more intriguing than what we do. The story of Mathieu Da Costa and the part he may have played in the early exploration of Canada is a fascinating case in point. What is stated or implied in the surviving historical record is that Mathieu Da Costa was a free Black man who in the early 1600s was hired by Europeans, both French and Dutch, to act as a translator or interpreter on voyages to North America. There was a clash between French and Dutch interests over his services, which eventually led to a court case in France which dragged on from 1609 until 1619. There are other details in the historical documents, but not enough to determine exactly where and when he might have worked as an intermediary along the coasts of Atlantic Canada. Nonetheless, a number of authors have gone into print with assertions that Mathieu Da Costa was at Port-Royal in the early 1600s. Their conclusion was based on the fact that Da Costa signed a contract to work as an interpreter for Pierre Dugua de Mons (sometimes identified as Du Gua de Monts), the leader of French colonization efforts at St. Croix in 1604 and at Port-Royal in 1605. The difficulty with using the contract as evidence, however, is that it was signed in Amsterdam in1608 to take effect beginning in 1609. Unfortunately there are no subsequent references to confirm that the interpreter subsequently crossed the ocean as the contract specified. The fragmentary nature of the evidence surrounding Mathieu Da Costa presents a problem for those who want to state exactly where and when he travelled and worked in early Canada. If we can set aside for a moment our desire for certainty, not an easy thing for an historian, we should be able to suggest a range of possibilities concerning this enigmatic figure in Canadian history. Our starting point will be in Africa, a century or more before the birth of the man we have come to know as Mathieu Da Costa.
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