Jacques Cartier claiming the land of Canada for France in 1534.
The explorations of Jacques Cartier.
By 1615, Samuel de Champlain had settled future Montreal, explored the Lake Huron, Lake Ontario and Lake Champlain. All the while solidifying the French claims to what would later be the American North East.
Fr. Jacques Marquette & Louis Joliet extended the claims of France through the Great Lakes to the northern half of the Mississippi River.
A missionary as well as an explorer, Fr. Jacques Marquette converted many to the Catholic faith.
Robert de La Salle completed the exploration of the Mississippi River and claimed the Louisiana Territory for France.
Ever the explorer, La Salle pushed his men to the limits trying to extend his countries claims to the vast midlands of the unknown North American continent. In the end his own men killed him so that they could at last return to France.
On his two North American explorations he discovered and named the Hudson River (claimed for his Dutch sponsors) and Hudson Bay (claimed for his English sponsors).