This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the French Wikipedia. (October 2010)
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French explorer and navigator Jacques Cartier, travelling and charting the Saint Lawrence River, reached it in July 1534.  At the time, the chief of the village was Donnacona. Despite efforts by the people of the village, Cartier seized some inhabitants and their chief but later released Donnacona and he agreed for his two sons, Taignoagny and Domagaya,  to return with Cartier to France for a year. 
Cartier returned with Lord Donnacona’s sons on his next voyage in 1535-1536 where he recorded a word they had used to refer to their home: “They call a town, Canada”.  When he and his crew stayed over the winter, they were effectively saved by the Stadaconans who knew how to prepare for them a vitamin-rich broth as a cure for scurvy which had already killed a quarter of Cartier’s crew.  The same winter over 50 Iroquois of the village died from diseases carried by the Europeans.  Following this, Cartier would then seize Lord Donnacona, his sons, and seven other inhabitants and take them back to France where nine of the ten would die and none would ever return.  Five years later Cartier would come back to Stadacona, but did not find welcome with the Stadaconans. Samuel de Champlain later chose the location of this village to establish the colony of l'Habitation, the start of the settlement of Quebec.