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.