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Maritime travels 16th century
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Jacques Cartier (1534-1542)

King François I of France entrusted Jacques Cartier with three Atlantic voyages (1534-1542), hoping to contest the Spanish naval monopoly and find a new route to the riches of Asia. Although Cartier failed to find spices and gold, the man from Saint-Malo kindled French ambition to explore North America.

Yann Lignereux, professor of modern history at the University of Nantes
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The Hydrographic School of Normandy

The development of a hydrographic school in Normandy during the 16th century was an expression of this northwestern French province’s maritime dynamism. 

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Florida
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From the St. Lawrence Valley to the Great Plains (17th-18th C.)

Voyages of exploration and their attendant colonial objectives resumed under Henri IV, whose reign (1589-1610) marked the return of civil and religious peace.

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The “Western Sea”

From the 16th to the 18th century, explorers, geographers, and the French government were committed to the search for a passage that would facilitate travel between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, allowing straightforward access to the treasures of the Asia-Pacific World.

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Cavelier de la Salle

Long celebrated as the discoverer of the Mississippi and the founder of Louisiana, René-Robert Cavelier de La Salle (1643-1687) was, strictly speaking, neither.

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La Pérouse and the Pacific Coast

At the beginning of the 18th century, Europeans had little to no knowledge of the Pacific coast from Mexico to the Arctic Circle. There was a double uncertainty in the North Pacific: Was North America connected to Asia? Did a passage exist that would facilitate travel between the Atlantic and Pacific?

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The La Vérendrye and the North American West

Canadian caterers and explorers, Pierre Gaultier de La Varennes et de La Vérendrye (1685-1749) and his three sons Jean-Baptiste, Pierre and François, searched for a hypothetical "Western Sea" from 1731 to 1744 .

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