Front Matter Our Country Long Ago The Barbarous Indians The Mounds Where the Northmen Went The Northmen in America Queer Ideas Prince Henry the Navigator Youth of Columbus Columbus and the Queen "Land! Land!" Columbus and the Savages Home Again Columbus Ill-treated Death of Columbus How America Got its Name The Fountain of Youth "The Father of Waters" The French in Canada French and Spanish Quarrels The Sky City Around the World Nothing but Smoke Smith's Adventures The Jamestown Men Smith Wounded Pocahontas Visits England Hudson and the Indians The Mayflower Plymouth Rock The First Thanksgiving Snake Skin and Bullets The Beginning of Boston Stories of Two Ministers Williams and the Indians The Quakers The King-Killers King Phillip's War The Beginning of New York Penn and the Indians The Catholics in Maryland The Old Dominion Bacon's Rebellion A Journey Inland The Carolina Pirates Charter Oak Salem Witches Down the Mississippi La Salle's Adventures Indians on the Warpath Two Wars with the French Washington's Boyhood Washington's Journey Washington's First Battle Stories of Franklin Braddock's Defeat Wolfe at Quebec England and her Colonies The Stamp Tax The Anger of the Colonies The Boston Tea Party The Minutemen The Battle of Lexington Bunker Hill The Boston Boys The British leave Boston Declaration of Independence A Lady's Way of Helping Christmas Eve The Fight at Bennington Burgoyne's Surrender Winter at Valley Forge The Quaker Woman Putnam's Adventures Indian Cruelty Boone in Kentucky Famous Sea Fights The "Swamp Fox" The Poor Soldiers The Spy A Traitor's Death Two Unselfish Women Surrender of Cornwallis British Flag hauled down Washington's Farewell

Story of the Thirteen Colonies - Helene Guerber

The French in Canada

Columbus had been dead for nearly fifty years, and yet people were only just beginning to explore that part of the New World which is occupied by our country. But the coast of South America was quite well known by this time, and already clearly outlined on maps, while North America was still a mystery.

Most people still fancied that North America was only a narrow strip of land, like Central America. They also thought that somewhere north of the Gulf of Mexico there must be a strait, by means of which it would be easy to pass into the Pacific Ocean, and thereby reach India without taking the long journey all around South America.

The navigators who visited the coast of North America in search of this strait, spoke, on their return, of the great quantities of fish they had seen. Even the Cabots had found many fish there. Now, all the Christian people in western Europe were Roman Catholics in those days, and so ate fish instead of meat on fast days, which were so many that they took up about one third of the time. Fish was therefore in great demand.

As the rivers did not supply enough, fishing soon became a paying trade for those who lived by the sea; and because many fish were found on the coasts of Brittany, in France, the Breton fishermen did a good business. Still, when they heard of great schools of codfish on the Banks of Newfoundland, which could be caught and salted very easily, these bold fishermen were anxious to secure them. They therefore began to make fishing trips across the Atlantic, and before long gave their name to Cape Breton.

France and Spain often waged costly wars, and seeing that the Spaniards received much gold from the New World, the French longed to have some of it, too. Their king, therefore, said that he had as good a right to any undiscovered land as the Spaniards, and that the latter should not be allowed to keep the New World all to themselves.

Next, he sent out an expedition under Verrazano, who explored the coast of North America from what is now North Carolina to Newfoundland. Some historians say that this captain finally fell into the hands of cannibal Indians, who devoured him in the sight of his helpless crew; but others declare that Verrazano was caught by the Spaniards during a war with France, and hanged as a pirate.

The French were not discouraged, however. A few years after the death of Verrazano they sent out another expedition, in charge of Cartier. After sailing nearly all the way around Newfoundland, this explorer, in 1534, came to the mainland, set up a huge wooden cross, and took possession of the country, in the name of France. The next year he came back, and, sailing up the St. Lawrence River, gave it that name because it was Saint Lawrence's day in the calendar. He visited the place where Quebec now stands, and went on up the stream until he came to an Indian village, composed of several long houses surrounded by a palisade.

Niagara Falls


Near this village there was a hill which Cartier climbed, and when his eyes rested upon the beautiful view at his feet, he exclaimed that this was truly a Montreal, or royal mountain. A city built some time after on this very spot still bears the name he gave the place.

After spending a short time on the St. Lawrence, Cartier went back to France, taking several Indians with him.. Some of these savages died, and when Cartier returned without them, and tried to establish a colony, he had trouble with their relatives. Cartier gave the name of Canada to part of the country, and in talking with the Indians learned that far inland there was a huge waterfall, whose roar could be heard many miles away. Indeed, some of the Indians called it Niagara, which in English means "The Thunder of Waters."

Although Cartier longed to see this wonder, he had no time to visit it, and as the climate proved too cold for his men, he went back to France, saying it would not be possible to plant a colony so far north. For the next few years, therefore, the French had only a few trading posts along the St. Lawrence River, where the Indians came at certain times to exchange the furs of the animals they had killed for the beads and trinkets they loved so well.