Jacques Cartier's voyages of 1534, 1535, and 1541constitute the first record of European impressions of the St Lawrence region of northeastern North American and its peoples. The Voyages are rich in details about almost every aspect of the region's environment and the people who inhabited it. As Ramsay Cook points out in his introduction, Cartier was more than an explorer; he was also Canada's first ethnographer. His accounts provide a wealth of information about the native people of the region and their relations with each other. Indirectly, he also reveals much about himself and about sixteenth-century European attitudes and beliefs. These memoirs recount not only the French experience with the Iroquois, but alo the Iroquois' discovery of the French. In addition to Cartier's Voyages, a slightly amended version of H.P. Biggar's 1924 text, the volume includes a series of letters relating to Cartier and the Sieur de Roberval, who was in command of cartier on the last voyage. Many of these letters appear for the first time in English.
Ramsay Cook's introduction, 'Donnacona Discovers Europe,' rereads the documents in the light of recent scholarship as well as from contemporary perspectives in order to understand better the viewpoints of Cartier and the native people with whom he came into contact.