Campaign of the Month: August 2011
Le Ballet de l'Acier
Situated at the confluence of the Saint Lawrence and Saguenay rivers, Tadoussac is a seaport and trading post. The site was originally noted by Jacques Cartier in 1535 during his second voyage to New France, and found there Montagnais hunting seal; the site was also visited by Basque whalers.
Having received a monopoly for fur trading in 1599 from King Henri IV, le Grand, François Gravé Du Pont, a merchant and veteran of the fur trade, and Pierre de Chauvin de Tonnetuit, a captain of the Royal Navy, founded Tadoussac in 1600. Only five of the sixteen men in their party survived the first winter. Samuel de Champlain served as an aide to Du Point at TAdoussac in 1603 before Champlain began his own explorations the following year.
In 1615, the Mission of L’Exaltation-de-la-Sainte-Croix-de-Tadoussac, named in memory of a cross planted by Jean de Quen, a trader, was founded by the Récollets, to proselytize the heathen aborigines and minister to the French traders, trappers, and mariners. The first mass was sung at the mission in 1617.
Cartier first described finding the Saguenay River on his second voyage in 1536; on board his ship were two sons of the Iriquois chief Donnacona’s sons. The chief’s sons told Cartier that the river was the way to the Kingdom of Saguenay; Donnacona himself also told stories about it while imprisoned in France in the 1530s, claiming the kingdom had great mines of silver and gold. French explorers continue to search for the elusive kingdom.