Jacques Cartier was a French explorer who claimed parts of Canada for France during his exploration of North America in 1534. He was responsible for mapping the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the Saint Lawrence River, both of which are located in the northeastern portion of the area today known as Quebec.
Jacques Cartier was born on December 31, 1491, in Saint-Malo, Brittany, part of modern-day France. In 1534, he was invited by the king of France, King Francis I, to explore the eastern coast of North America, a voyage which began on April 20, 1534. In addition to Quebec, he also explored the lands of modern-day Newfoundland, the Magdalen Islands and Gaspé Bay.
After returning to France, Cartier took another voyage to North America beginning on May 19, 1535, arriving at Sainte-Marie Sault in the fall of that year. During this voyage, Cartier believed he had found the Northwest Passage.
A third voyage to Canada occurred in 1541 and 1542. During this voyage, he sought the legendary Kingdom of Saguenay and to establish a permanent settlement on the St. Lawrence River that he had previously mapped. Neither mission was successful. Cartier died on Sept. 1, 1557, in Saint-Malo.