MAY 6, 1536


Donnacona was chief of the Iroquois village of Stadacona, at the site of present-day Quebec City, when French explorer Jacques Cartier made the first two of his three voyages to the New World.  On his 1st voyage, in 1534, he left for France with Donnacona’s sons, Domagaya and Taignoagny.  Both men returned with Cartier on his 2nd voyage in 1535 and served as guides.  In May 1536, after relations with Donnacona had soured, Cartier kidnapped Doonacona and nine other Iroquois, including his sons, and sailed back to France so that they could relay tales of the Kingdom of Saguenay, supposedly rich in gold, rubies, and spices.  Donnacona was reportedly treated well and Cartier promised to return him to France after a year, but he and all but one of the Iroquois died in France before they could return.  In 1981, Donnacona was recognized as a National Historic Person by the government of Canada.  A plaque commemorating this event is located at the Cartier-Brébeuf National Historic Site in Quebec City.

Source:  Marcel Trudell, “Donnacona,” Dictionary of Canadian Biography.  Retrieved 6/29/2019,
Picture:  Author unknown, 1908.  Postcard of butter sculpture tableau of the meeting of Jacques Cartier and Donnacona, Franco-British Exhibition, London.  Public Domain in U.S.:  Pre 1/1/1925.  Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 70 years or less.

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