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Items of Interest

Aboard the ships that set sail for North America there were not only fishermen, there were also explorers. As early as 1497, Jean Cabot, also called Giovanni Caboto or John Cabot, landed at Cape Breton believing he had arrived in the Land of the Great Khan (China). He came across signs that the country was inhabited, but did not see anyone. Almost thirty years later, in 1524, Giovanni Da Verrazzano encountered members of the First Nations in Newfoundland. He noted that they already possessed some European-made items. Trading between the First Nations on the Atlantic seaboard and Europeans had already begun, and in the years that followed it became more and more frequent.

When Jacques Cartier arrived in Canada for the first time, in 1534, he saw people on the shore making signs and holding furs up on poles. He and his men traded a few small items, including knives and a red hat that they gave to the chief. During his two other voyages, Cartier and his crew engaged in trading on several occasions.

Even though several explorers saw North America with their own eyes, none of them saw the riches that this land had to offer. They sought gold, spices, precious gems and many other things. Not one of them stopped to think that the quantity of furs available in this part of the world could easily make any European rich.