Jacques Cartier
Jacques Cartier was a French explorer of Breton
Breton people
The Bretons are an ethnic group located in the region of Brittany in France. They trace much of their heritage to groups of Brythonic speakers who emigrated from southwestern Great Britain in waves from the 3rd to 6th century into the Armorican peninsula, subsequently named Brittany after them.The...

 origin who claimed what is now Canada for France. He was the first European to describe and map the Gulf of Saint Lawrence
Gulf of Saint Lawrence
The Gulf of Saint Lawrence , the world's largest estuary, is the outlet of North America's Great Lakes via the Saint Lawrence River into the Atlantic Ocean...

 and the shores of the Saint Lawrence River
Saint Lawrence River
The Saint Lawrence is a large river flowing approximately from southwest to northeast in the middle latitudes of North America, connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean. It is the primary drainage conveyor of the Great Lakes Basin...

, which he named "The Country of Canadas", after the Iroquois names
Iroquoian languages
The Iroquoian languages are a First Nation and Native American language family.-Family division:*Ruttenber, Edward Manning. 1992 [1872]. History of the Indian tribes of Hudson's River. Hope Farm Press....

 for the two big settlements he saw at Stadacona (Quebec City)
Stadacona was a 16th century St. Lawrence Iroquoian village near present-day Quebec City.French explorer and navigator Jacques Cartier, travelling and charting the Saint Lawrence River, reached it on 7 September 1535. He returned to Stadacona to spend the winter there with his group of 110 men...

 and at Hochelaga (Montreal Island)
Hochelaga (village)
Hochelaga meaning "beaver dam" or "beaver lake" was a St. Lawrence Iroquoian 16th century fortified village at the heart of, or in the immediate vicinity of Mount Royal in present-day Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Jacques Cartier arrived by boat on October 2, 1535; he visited the village on the...

Jacques Cartier was born in 1491 in Saint-Malo
Saint-Malo is a walled port city in Brittany in northwestern France on the English Channel. It is a sub-prefecture of the Ille-et-Vilaine.-Demographics:The population can increase to up to 200,000 in the summer tourist season...

, the port on the extreme north-east coast of Brittany
Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain...

. Cartier, who was a respectable mariner, improved his social status in 1520 by marrying Mary Catherine des Granches, member of a leading family.