Saturday Scenes

Thu 12 July 2012

First Contact

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 22:59

On the 7th of July in 1534, French navigator Jacques Cartier made contact with aborigines in Canada, the first known encounter between Europeans and First Nations. Cartier’s brief was to find a western passage to Asia as well as “discover certain islands and lands where it is said that a great quantity of gold and other precious things are to be found.” He explored the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the world’s largest estuary, and landed somewhere near present-day Quebec City. There he traded in furs with an unknown tribe which was probably the Micmacs and with the St. Lawrence Iroquois. By all accounts the tribes were happy to have new trade opportunities and an alliance was agreed.

A few weeks later, Cartier planted a ten-metre cross with “Long Live the King of France” inscribed upon it.

CARTIER, JACQUES (1491-1557) – Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online

On 24 July Cartier erected a cross 30 ft. high, bearing the arms of France, at Penouille Point. If the crosses at Saint-Servan and on Île Brion were rather in the nature of landmarks or beacons, this one was much more: it is clear from the importance of the ceremony that the cross was intended to indicate that the territory was being taken possession of in the name of François I.

Chief Donnacona protested; he approached Cartier’s boat with his brother and three of his sons to harangue the strangers. A pretence was made of offering him an axe. As he was about to take it, the French held on to his craft and forced the Iroquois to come on board the ship. Cartier reassured them and obtained permission to take away with him two of Donnacona’s sons, Domagaya and Taignoagny, promising to bring them back.

Jacques Cartier went on to create the settlement at Stadacona which became Quebec City. The St. Lawrence Iroquois had disappeared completely by the end of the 1500s.

Meanwhile, on the 7th of July in 2012, the following photographs were preserved for posterity:

And here are the future historians who took them:

Would you like to include your photograph in our collection? It’s simple to join in:

  1. Take a photograph on a Saturday
  2. Upload the photograph
  3. Send a tweet to @SatScenes with the location

We’d all love to see even more SatScenes in the next edition!

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