Cartier-Brébeuf National Historic Site of Canada
The Third Voyage (1541-1542)
Jacques Cartier© National Archives of Canada / C-41570Map
Upon arriving in France, the Amerindians whom Cartier had taken with him were so convincing that in 1541, François I sponsored a vast colonizing expedition, and named Jean-François de la Rocque, Sieur de Roberval, as commander. Cartier arrived at the appointed destination one year before Roberval, and established a settlement at the foot of the cliffs at Cap-Rouge, where he also erected fortifications.
After making a second journey to Hochelaga, Cartier learned that the route beyond
the Lachine rapids was long and difficult. This bit of bad news, coupled with
his discovery of what he believed to be gold and diamonds in the rocks of Cap-Rouge,
explain his hurry to return to France. En route, he encountered Roberval in
Newfoundland. The commander ordered him to turn back. Cartier, who was anxious
to convert his cargo into cash as quickly as possible, nevertheless disobeyed.
Roberval, who was now deprived of Cartier's assistance, spent a horrendous winter
at the site of this navigator's settlement, and had to repatriate the tiny colony
to France the following spring. Cartier's third voyage, which had been intended
for exploration and colonization, proved a failure, as did Sieur de Roberval's
attempt at establishing a settlement, moreover. The gold and diamonds that Cartier
believed he had discovered were actually nothing more than iron pyrite and quartz!
It was only in the early 16th century, following the dispersion of the St. Lawrence Iroquoians that Québec became the centre of the first French colony in America.