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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Iron Stoves in the Middle Ages?

While doing research for my book on world explorer Jacques Cartier, I was quite surprised to learn that there were iron stoves aboard ship. When they built the fort along the Saint Charles River, they brought the stoves on land to put in Cartier's hut and other highly ranked officers' quarters.

I searched high and low and couldn't find a single illustration or picture of an iron stove in the 16th century. But my research did prove that there were indeed iron stoves in the 1500s. And it makes sense, that if Cartier had a ship with iron cannons as he did on the Grande Hermine, then why wouldn't he have iron stoves?

Perhaps they looked similar to the one pictured below, date unknown.
This is intriguing because this is a very different stove compared to the ornate wood stove King Francis I had in his castle (see below). King Francis I is the king who sent Cartier to explore the new world for a Northwest Passage to Cathay (China).

Middle Ages Crucifix
When Cartier met with the Natives of Hochelaga, he was so moved by their hunger for healing, he shared Christ with them. He knew this because they brought all their sick to him for him to lay hands on them. How did they know to do this? I wish I knew.

He took off the crucifix around his neck and gave it to the first native he met on the trail to the village. Why did he do that? I wish I knew that, too, because that wasn't something one did as a practice. Perhaps the native showed a keen interest in it. Cartier wanted to spread the gospel--was this one way he chose to do so?

What did the crucifix look like? I wonder. Maybe it was similar to some of those pictured above.

Hatchets in the Middle Ages

Who knew there was so much to know about hatchets?

In doing my research for my book about Jacques Cartier, I came across this picture of a French hatchet dated to the Middle Ages.

I love the contours of the blade. It sparks my imagination for some reason.

This is the type of hatchet that Cartier would have traded with the natives of Newfoundland and along the banks of the St. Lawrence river in the area of Quebec between 1534-1541.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Le Grande Hermine

The ship that Cartier sailed on during his second voyage to find the Northwest Passage in Canada, thereby exploring the St. Lawrence River. Le Grande Hermine. Pictured below is a replica of the ship exhibited at 1967 World Expo in Montreal.

A drawing of the ship at sea. The second voyage was fraught with storms: