Kingdom of Saguenay

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The name "Kingdom of Saguenay" (French: Royaume du Saguenay) supposedly has its origin in an Iroquoian legend, as recorded by the French during French colonization in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. According to the Iroquoian Indians, there was a kingdom to the north, of blond men rich with gold and furs, in a place they called Saguenay.

Jacques Cartier first described finding the Saguenay River on his second voyage in 1536; he had with him Chief Donnacona's sons who told him it was the way to the Kingdom of Saguenay. While imprisoned in France in the 1530s, Donnacona himself also told stories about it, claiming it had great mines of silver and gold. French explorers in Canada looked for this kingdom in vain. Today, it is typically understood to be entirely mythical, a European misunderstanding (or made up), or an Iroquoian attempt to trick or confuse the French. However, some people have speculated it was an ancient, pre-Columbian European settlement to which the Iroquoian oral tradition referred, such as the Norse settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows.[1]

The name Saguenay survived in many modern placenames. The modern-day Saguenay region, including the city of Saguenay (Chicoutimi-Jonquière), is on both shores of the Saguenay River in Quebec. As the name of the river, the Kingdom has also become the namesake of Saguenay Herald at the Canadian Heraldic Authority. It is part of the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean administrative region. Today, the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region is sometimes referred to metaphorically as the Kingdom of the Saguenay (Royaume du Saguenay), for example in tourist marketing.

Unrelated to the legend, a micronational project in the Saguenay region, Le Royaume de L'Anse-Saint-Jean, achieved a certain amount of prominence in 1997.

The name Saguenay is not related to Saginaw, the name of a river, bay and city in Michigan that is of Ojibway origin.

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  1. ^ King, Joseph Edward (1950). "The Glorious Kingdom of Saguenay" (PDF). Canadian Historical Review (University of Toronto Press) 31 (4). ISSN 0008-3755.