Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Accounts of Jacques Cartier

The account I found when researching is that of Jacques Cartier, a French explorer who claimed what is now Canada for France. In his account he writes that they departed from the port of S.Malo on 20th April 1534 with two ships and sixty one men in each one. He writes that on 21st May they hoisted sail North of Buona Vista to the 'Island of Birds'. He goes on to describe them in great detail and with such passion:"Some of the which are as big as jayes, blacke and white, with beaks like unto crowes". However, he then writes that in less than half an hour they loaded two boats full of them which they used for food, which seems strange because the way he writes about them is that they are fascinating creatures to be admired.

When travelling in the land of White Sand they came across inhabitants, of which he describes as: "there are men of an indifferent good stature and bignesse, but wildeand unruly:they weare their haire tied on the top like a wreath of hay; a put a wooden pinne within it, or any other such thing instead of a naile, a with them they binde certaine birdes feathers". He describes the natives in such detail and writes that they actually live on the mainland but they come out of the hotter country to catch the seals and other necessaties to live on. He describes the natives with such interest and fascination, obviously he would have never come across people like them before. Their traditions and how they look would have all been new to him and the way he writes about them is as if they are out of the ordinary and different, however he does not describe them as savages or animals but as inhabitants of the land. 

Through his account, he writes about the land in great detail, describing everything about it so that we can understand what he has seen. From what I have read they searched through much of the land not leaving any part untouched and interacted with the native people, exchanging gifts and learning parts of their language(some of which is translated at the end of his account). 

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