Jacques Cartier's Third Voyage - 1541
Settlement of Charlesbourg-Royal

In May of 1541, Jacques Cartier set sail with 5 ships and 1,500 men and instructions to settle the New World. Cartier would be followed by Jean-François de la Rocque de Robertval who would arrive with settlers, supplies, and artillery with which to fortify the new settlement.

During his previous 2 voyages, Cartier had discovered the St. Lawrence River, set up friendly relationships with the Iroquoians who lived along its shores, and then kidnapped 2 sons of Chief Donnacona to take to France as proof of the New World. Returning the sons to their father the next year, Cartier had then located the Iroquoian settlements of Stadacona (Quebec) and Hochelaga (Montreal). Winter ice had stranded Cartier at the small fort the French had built near Stadacona, and, when the river cleared of ice in the Spring, Cartier had kidnapped the same 2 sons again, along with their father, Donnacona, 3 other Natives, and 4 children who had been 'gifted' to the King of France. However, during their 5-year stay in France, all the Natives had died except for one of the children.

On returning to Stadacona in 1541, Cartier met with the new Iroquoian chief Agona. He explained that Donnacona had grown ill and had died in France. He was buried there. He then lied and told the chief that the others who had accompanied him to France had become rich and had decided to marry and to remain there.

The natives were outraged and Cartier decided it best to abondon the fort at Stadacona. He located a new site at the mouth of the Rivière de Cap-Rouge, 14 kilometres (9 miles) away from Stadacona, and built a new fort. He named the settlement Charlesbourg-Royal, which would become the first French settlement in North America.

Over the Winter, however, the enraged Iroquoians kept the fort under steady seige. There appeared to be no actual attempt to slaughter the French intruders. Instead, the attacks were more a series of a nuisance raids - an attempt to convince the French that they were no-longer welcome in Canada and that their lives would be made miserable if they stayed.

Within 2 years, Charlesbourg-Royal would be abandoned.


First Voyage 1534 - First Encounters & Chief Donnacona
Second Voyage 1535 - Stadacona & Hochelaga
Second Voyage 1535 - Winter & Scurvy
* Third Voyage 1541 - Settlement of Charlesbourg-Royal *
Third Voyage 1541 - Failure, Retirement & Suspension