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31 December 1491
1 September 1557 (aged 65)
French navigator and explorer
Born in Saint-Malo, France, Cartier began sailing as a young man. Jacques Cartier is known chiefly for exploring the St. Lawrence River and giving Canada its name.
Cartier explored the Americas, particularly Brazil, before making three major North American voyages. The purpose of the first voyage in 1534 was to find a northwest passage to Asia. He explored the west coast of Newfoundland and discovered Prince Edward Island. During the second voyage he navigated the St. Lawrence, as far as Quebec, and established a base. In May 1541, Cartier departed on his third voyage to Quebec and found gold and diamonds there.