The first French explorer in the New World was Jacques Cartier. On 20 April 1534 he sailed westwards with two ships, seeking a short route to the Indies. Having reached Newfoundland, he waited until the winter ice had cleared, and then sailed through a strait and explored a great bay, claiming the territory in the name of France. On a second journey Cartier returned to the bay on 10 August – the feast of St Lawrence – and named it after the saint. He then explored the river beyond, and before returning to France named it, too, after St Lawrence.
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