In 1524 Verrazano, a Florentine navigator, was sent by Francis I. on a voyage of discovery to the New World. Sighting the shores of America near the present Wilmington, North Carolina, he explored the coast of New Jersey, touched land near New York Bay, and anchored a few days in the harbor of Newport. In this vicinity he came upon an island, which was probably Block Island. Sailing from here along the coast as far north as Newfoundland, he named this vast territory New France.
In 1534 Cartier, a noted voyager of St. Malo, coasted along the north of Newfoundland, passed through the Straits of Belle Isle into the water now known as St. Lawrence Gulf, and into the mouth of the Saint Lawrence River. Erecting a cross, he took possession of the shores in the name of the king of France.
In the following year he made a second voyage, going up as far as the mouth of a small river which the year before he had named St. John's. He called the waters the Bay of St. Lawrence. Ascending this, he came to a settlement of the natives near a certain hill, which he called Mont
Royal, now modified into "Montreal." Cartier returned to France in 1536, only a few of his men having survived the winter.
In 1540 Lord Roberval fitted out a fleet, with Cartier as subordinate. Cartier sailed at once--his third voyage--Roberval following the next year. A fort was built near the present site of Quebec. Roberval and Cartier disagreed and returned to France, leaving the real foundation of Quebec to be laid by Champlain, much later.
See also: 1528-1540