Preparations for the Second Expedition

On his first voyage to Canada, in 1534, Jacques Cartier explored the Gulf of the St. Lawrence. He did not, however, sail as far as the mouth of the river.

But Cartier was sure that he had reached the Asian coast and considered his mission accomplished. So, in October 1534, two months after the successful first expedition to Canada, Cartier got a new commission.

This is how Grand Admiral Chabot formulated the aim of the second expedition: “complete the navigation of the lands you have already begun to discover.” This time, Francois I, King of France, supplied 3,000 livres to equip three ships (in April 1534, Cartier had sailed on two ships). The names of the three ships were the Grande Hermine, the Petite Hermine and the Emerillon. The expedition had equipment and supplies for 15 months of voyage.

Many historians believe that the two Amerindians brought by Cartier to France from his first expedition learned enough French to tell him about their land and the great river, which would later become the St. Lawrence. It’s possible that they spoke in metaphors, and the French thought that many gems, gold, and other precious metals shimmered all along the Canadian shores…

This time, too, many noblemen, imagining rich ore mines awaiting them in Canada, wanted to join the expedition. France was pretty sure that this expedition would discover the Eldorado and bring back tons of gold, diamonds, and other treasures. The second expedition started off Saint-Malo on May 19, 1935.

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