Browse "Explorers"

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Étienne Brûlé

Étienne Brûlé, explorer, interpreter (b probably at Champigny-sur-Marne, France c 1592; d in Huronia c June 1633). Brûlé was the first Frenchman to live among the Indigenous people.

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John Cabot

John Cabot (a.k.a. Giovanni Caboto), merchant, explorer (born before 1450 in Italy, died at an unknown place and date). In 1496, King Henry VII of England granted Cabot the right to sail in search of a westward trade route to Asia and lands unclaimed by Christian monarchs. Cabot mounted three voyages, the second of which, in 1497, was the most successful. During this journey Cabot coasted the shores of Newfoundland and Labrador, possibly sighted the Beothuk or Innu people of the region, and famously noted that the waters teemed with cod. At the time, the land Cabot saw was thought to be the eastern shore of Asia, the fabled island of Brasil, or the equally fabled Isle of Seven Cities. Cabot and his crew were the second group of Europeans to reach what would become Canada, following Norse explorers around 1000 CE. Despite not yielding the trade route Cabot hoped for, the 1497 voyage provided England with a claim to North America and knowledge of an enormous new fishery.

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Jacques Cartier

Jacques Cartier, navigator (born between 7 June and 23 December 1491 in Saint-Malo, France; died 1 September 1557 in Saint-Malo, France).

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François Dollier de Casson

François Dollier de Casson, explorer, superior of the Sulpicians in New France (1670-74, 1678-1701), seigneur of Montréal, vicar general, historian (b in the château of Casson-sur-l'Erdre in Lower Brittany 1636; d at Montréal 27 Sept 1701).

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Samuel de Champlain

Samuel de Champlain, cartographer, explorer, colonial administrator (born circa 1567 in Brouage, France; died 25 December 1635 in Québec City). Champlain played a major role in founding New France from 1603 to 1635.

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Médard Chouart des Groseilliers

Médard Chouart Des Groseilliers, explorer, fur trader (bap at Charly-sur-Marne, France 31 July 1618; d at New France 1696?). A man of courage who valued personal freedom and initiative, Des Groseilliers opened Lakes Michigan and Superior to the fur trade and Jesuit missionaries.

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Christopher Middleton

Christopher Middleton, Hudson's Bay Co captain, naval officer, explorer (b at Newton Bewley, Eng late 17th century; d 12 Feb 1770). Middleton served on PRIVATEERING ships during Queen Anne's War 1701-13 and joined the HBC in 1721 as second mate on a voyage from England to York Factory.

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James Cook

  James Cook, explorer (b near Marton, Eng 27 Oct 1728; d at Kealakekua Bay, Sandwich Is [Hawaii] 14 Feb 1779). The greatest navigator of his era, he served as master of the Pembroke at the siege of LOUISBOURG (1758) during the SEVEN YEARS' WAR.

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Mathieu Da Costa

Mathieu Da Costa (depending on the language of the documents that mention his name, also known as “Mateus Da Costa,” “Mathieu de Coste,” “Matheus de Cost” and “een Swart genamd Matheu”), interpreter (dates and places of birth and death unknown). Da Costa is one of the most fascinating and elusive figures in the early history of Canada. Historians consider him the first Black person known to have visited Canada, probably in the company of Pierre Dugua de Mons and Samuel de Champlain. But many aspects of his life remain unclear or unknown.

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Giovanni da Verrazzano

Giovanni da Verrazzano, explorer (born in or near Florence circa 1485; died in the West Indies circa 1528). Verrazzano explored North America’s eastern coastline on behalf of France, while searching for a westward route to China. His explorations demonstrated to Europeans that the coast from Florida to Cape Breton was continuous. He also provided Europeans with the first ethnographic account of Indigenous people north of Mexico.

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Daniel Greysolon Dulhut

Daniel Greysolon Dulhut, coureur de bois, fur trader, explorer (b at St-Germain-Laval, France c 1639; d at Montréal 25 Feb 1710). Dulhut helped extend the French trading empire around the Upper Great Lakes.

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David Thompson

David Thompson, explorer, cartographer (born 30 April 1770 in London, England; died 10 February 1857 in Longueuil, Canada East).

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Sir David Kirke

Sir David Kirke, adventurer, governor of Newfoundland (b at Dieppe, France c 1597; d near London, Eng 1654). Kirke, with Sir William Alexander, formed the Company of Adventurers, which was granted patents by King Charles I giving them the right to trade and settle in Canada.