Kingdom of Saguenay

The Kingdom of Saguenay (French: Royaume du Saguenay) was a mythical kingdom that French-Breton maritime explorer Jacques Cartier tried to reach in 1535, supposedly located inland of present-day Quebec, Canada. The indigenous people had told Cartier about a rich kingdom and Cartier was given two ships by the French government to explore countries beyond Newfoundland.[1] In 1542 Cartier founded the Charlesbourg-Royal settlement and his crew initially thought they had found large amounts of diamonds and gold in the area. The treasures were shipped back to France, but turned out to be quartz crystals and iron pyrites.[2][3]

Historic evaluationEdit

The Dauphin Map of Canada, circa 1543, showing the discoveries of Jacques Cartier.

In 1986 the American historian Samuel Eliot Morison wrote about the search for the Kingdom of Saguenay by explorers in the time period between 1538 and 1543, during which France regarded the search as a means to an end. France had paid for Cartier's third voyage so as to rebalance power in the nation's favour. After all, England had profited from the discoveries of John Cabot while Spain acquired wealth from mines in Mexico and Peru.[4]

In 1997 the Canadian historian Daniel Francis reached the conclusion that Cartier "believed in the fanciful kingdom of Saguenay, rich in gold and diamonds, some of whose inhabitants knew how to fly." Other explorers held similar beliefs about the North of present-day Canada, including Martin Frobisher and Samuel Hearne.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Miller, David W. (2011). The Forced Removal of American Indians from the Northeast: A History of Territorial Cessions and Relocations, 1620-1854. McFarland, Incorporated, Publishers. p. 4. ISBN 9780786487059.
  2. ^ Rickard, David Terence (2015). Pyrite: A Natural History of Fool's Gold. Oxford University Press. p. 14. ISBN 9780190203672.
  3. ^ "Cartier's Third Voyage to Canada, 1541–1542". American Journeys. 2010. Retrieved October 2, 2010.
  4. ^ Morison, Samuel Eliot (1986). The Great Explorers: The European Discovery of America. Oxford University Press. p. 248. ISBN 9780195042221.
  5. ^ Giehmann, Barbara Stefanie (2011). Writing the Northland: Jack London's and Robert W. Service's Imaginary Geography. Königshausen & Neumann. p. 81. ISBN 9783826044595.