Beginning of the Second Voyage to Canada

Jacques Cartier sailed off Saint-Malo on May 19, 1535. This time, he had 110 men and three ships: the Grande Hermine, the Petite Hermine and the Emerillon.

Bad weather separated the ships, and they reunited only on July 26, in the Chaleurs Bay. Domogaya and Taignoagany, the two natives that Cartier had brought with him to France, showed the route to the place where the Great Hochelaga River (the St. Lawrence) ended. They added that the river was “so long that no one had ever been to its other end.” Undoubtedly, Jacques Cartier believed that this river was the great passage to Japan and China.

The small flotilla sailed up the river and anchored near an island with hazel bushes all around. So they named the island Isle es Coudres (Hazelnut island, Ile-aux-Coudres). Few miles upstream, the French sailors came upon thirteen islands close together. Here, Donnacona, the “great lord of Canada” according to Cartier, met the French with a dozen of boats.

Donnacona spoke to his sons, Domogaya and Taignoagany—the two Indians who had made the first voyage to Europe and discovered France for the Amerindians. They supposedly told him about their stay in France and about the force this European country represented. As a sign of friendship, Cartier and Donnacona ate bread and had wine together.

The ships then reached the Ile d’Orleans, which Cartier named Bacchus Island because of the vines he found there. He considered it too risky to venture farther upstream with the flotilla; thus he anchored in the mouth of the St. Charles River and decided to continue on board the Emerillion. He informed Donnacona of his decision.

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