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16th Century North America
Signifigant Events in the Lives of Our Ancestors
This table describes significant events in the history of North America during the European discovery period.

New France Significant Events Timeline
1524 -The beginning of the Renaissance in France
-Giovanni Verrazano maps the coast line of North America from Florida to Cape Breton for France under the Francois I King of France (Valois Dynasty)
Nova Gallia- Latin for Nouvelle France begins to show up on maps indicating the areas of the New World that French expeditions claimed for France (Trudell p. 10)
-Jacques Cartier sets out from St. Malo on April 20th following Verrazanos lead
-May 27th he reaches baye des Chasteaux (Strait of Belle Isle)
-July 7th Cartier exchanges furs from the Mic Macs for trivial objects (Trudell p.16) at St. Martins Cove. This is the first trade between French and Natives of North America (
-Late July Cartier makes friends with the Iroquois at Bay of Gaspe
-July 24th Cartier raises a cross at Pointe Penouille with the words "Vive le roi de France" written on it. Donnacona chief of the Iroquois is unhappy with the Cross
-Cartier explains that the cross is a landmark to soothe Donnaconas objection and Donnacona agrees to let two of his sons sail with Cartier to France
-July 25th Cartier sails past the opening to the St Lawrence believing that he was following the shore line (Trudell p. 17)
-Beginning of August weather hinders further exploration of the St. Peters Strait that would have also lead Cartier to the St. Lawrence River (Trudell p. 18)
-Sept. 5th Cartier arrives back in St. Malo
-Cartiers 2nd expedition set sail May 16th from St. Malo- Donnaconas sons sailed with him
-Aug. 13th Cartier discovers that the Gulf of the St. Lawrence will lead him to Canada according to Donnaconas sons
-Sept. 14th Cartier reaches Ille d'Orleans and Stadacona (Quebec City today) and Donnacona is reunited with his sons
-Cartier explores the area and names St. Croix on the St. Charles River
-Oct. 2nd Cartier reaches Hochelaga and establishes a site he calls Mont Royal (Montreal today) and names the Lachine Rapids
-Cartier winters near the Stadacona Iroquois settlement
-Cartier returns to St. Malo with 10 Iroquois including Donnacona and his sons - none of these Indians would return to their homeland
-May 23 Cartier sets out for a return trip to Canada with 5 ships filled with colonists from every walk of life and two years supply of food
-August 23 Cartier arrives at Stadacona but moves down the St. Lawrence from the 1535 Fort to a place he called Charlesbourg Royal to start the 1st French Colony in North America
-June – Cartier leaves Charlesbourg Royal with all his surviving colonists while Roberval is arriving in Newfoundland
-In September Cartier arrives at St. Malo with what he thought was gold and diamonds but he was later proven to be pyrite and quartz
-August Roberval moves down St. Lawrence to Charlesbourg and built a fort and colony on Cartiers previous site- he renames it France Roi
-First recorded hanging in Canada is Michel Gaillon who was hanged for theft at France Roi
-September – Roberval abandoned his colony at France Roi and returned to France with the remaining colonists – Once again the herbal remedy for Scurvy (a deficiency of Vitamin C) was lost to the colonists although many European Sailors did know that anedda (white cedar tea made from the bark) would cure scurvy
-Francis I, King of France dies and is succeeded by his son Henry II
-King Henry II seems to have had no interest in building a New France along the St. Lawrence River Valley
-The Huguenots were strengthening in numbers in France and rioting against the Catholic Church
-1557 Cartier died
-King Henry II died on July 10th, 1559
-King Henry II son Francis II is crowned King of France at 15 years old
-King Francis II had been married in April 1858 year to Mary Queen of Scots but died in December 1860 of an ear infection
-Catherine de Medici wife of King Henry II and mother of King Francis II takes the reign of France while the next in line to the throne, King Charles IX is of minority age
-The Regent Queen Catherine of France was interested in the positions of her children and herself over the interests of France expanding into the St. Lawrence Valley
-The civil war in France between the Catholics and the Huguenots continues under the reign of King Charles IX
-Samuel de Champlain is born in Brouage, France
-1572 brought the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre
-1574 King Charles IX of France died and his brother King Henri III is crowned
-Martin Frobisher makes his first attempt at finding the North West Passage and finds Frobisher Bay
-Troilus de Mesgouez, marquis de la Roche (known in this timeline as La Roche) secures the right from King Henri III to go to the St. Lawrence Valley
-Frobisher sails to Frobisher Bay to claim the land for England
-King Henri III gives La Roche the title “Governor and our Lieutenant-General and Viceroy of the said Terres neuves and countries which he shall conquer and take from these barbarians.” (Trudell p. 56)
-Fur Trade with the Indians along the St. Lawrence began in earnest as merchants from France sent voyages to the Valley
-October 4th was followed by October 14th as the Gregorian Calendar was adopted in Roman Catholic Countries including France
-La Roche attempted to bring 300 people across the ocean for colonization – after losing one of his ships the voyage was stopped
-Merchants of St. Malo send a voyage to barter furs along the St. Lawrence – the voyage proved to be very successful
-Francois, Duke of Anjou dies leaving no direct descendents to the throne in the Valois Dynasty
-St. Malo Merchants send twice as many ships to the St. Lawrence Valley for furs – again this expedition proves to be very successful
-January – A Fur Trade and Mining monopoly of Canada was given to Jacques Noel and Etienne Chaton de La Jannaye for payments due to both parties as well as Noel’s Uncle, Cartier
-Noel and La Jannaye were to build Forts and colonize the land
-May – King Henry III put restrictions on the monopoly after angry merchants protested
-Noel and La Jannaye abandon their monopoly claiming that it would be to costly to financially sustain a colony without the commerce of fur trading
-August King Henri III is assassinated and the Valois Dynasty has no heirs
-King Henry IV (The Great) assumes the crown – he is a descendant of Louis XI of the Capetian Dynasty, a 9th cousin once removed to Henri III – This is the beginning of the Bourbon Dynasty
-La Roche is imprisoned for being against the Holy League
-La Roche is released from prison and begins to put a voyage together back to the St. Lawrence in Canada
-La Roche sends a ship on a fishing expedition to Sable Island
-King Henry IV signs the Edit of Nantes to restore unity to France and the Religious conflicts in France end
-La Roche lands at Sable Island with 250 men and women to build a colony and trading post – La Roche returned to France
-La Roche sends more colonists to Sable Island
-Pierre Chauvin arrives at Tadoussac to trade furs and leaves 16 men to overwinter
-Chauvin returns to Tadoussac to find that only 5 of the men left behind survived through the winter
-La Roche sends supplies to Sable Island
-La Roche abandoned Sable Island
-Francois Grave Dupont (Pontgrave) sails from Honfleur for Canada with Samuel de Champlain onboard – Champlain was a cartographer and followed the route of Cartier up the St. Lawrence to Hochelaga (Montreal)


Trudel, Marcel (1973), The Beginnings of New France 1524-1663, Canada, McClelland and Stewart Limited

The Museum of New France, Canadian Museum of Civilization, 2001,, Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation

The Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia,

Britannia (1998),

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