Why did France send Jacques Cartier to explore in North America?

In the 15th century, Spain and Portugal began to explore America. Since they found gold
and other riches in their new colonies, the King of France also became interested in exploring
the New World.
In 1524, an Italian named Giovanni da Verrazano was sent by the king of France to explore the east coast of North America. 

He hoped to find a route to China further to the north. He sailed northwards along the coast but failed to find the passage to China.  

Ten years later, in 1534, France sent Jacques Cartier to explore America.

His mission had three purposes: 

· find a route to China 

· bring back gold and other riches 

· claim land for the king of France.

The Three Voyages of Jacques Cartier and their Results  
  • In 1534, Cartier explored and mapped the Gulf of St. Lawrence. On the banks of the Gaspé peninsula he erected a cross and claimed the land in the name of the king of France. He met friendly Natives willing to trade furs for trinkets. Although gold was not found, he reported the abundance of fish, timber and furs. He also felt that a wide river flowing from the west could be a promising route to China.
  • In 1535, Cartier arrived with three ships. He sailed up the big river which he named the St. Lawrence River. .He reached the Indian villages of Stadacona (now Quebec) and Hochelaga (now Montreal). Friendly Natives showed the French explorers how to survive the cold and scurvy in the winter. Cartier and his men returned to France in 1536 bringing with them five Natives, including Chief Donacona.
  • In 1541, Cartier returned and attempted to set up a colony near Stadacona. Missionaries hoped to convert the Natives to the Christian religion. The settlement however was abandoned in 1542 and France lost interest in the colony. No one returned for the next 60 years.
Do the following questions on Topic 2: Cartier's Voyages