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The St. Lawrence River is a large
river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching another body of water ...

river
in the middle latitudes of
North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continen ...

North America
, flowing from
Lake Ontario Lake Ontario (french: Lac Ontario) is one of the five Great Lakes File:Location of the Great Lakes in North America.jpg, upright=1.3, Location in North America The Great Lakes, also called the Great Lakes of North America or the Laurenti ...

Lake Ontario
in a roughly northeasterly direction into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, connecting the
Great Lakes upright=1.3, Location in North America The Great Lakes also called the Great Lakes of North America or the Laurentian Great Lakes, is a series of large interconnected freshwater lake A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a ...

Great Lakes
to the North Atlantic Ocean and forming the primary drainage outflow of the
Great Lakes Basin Great may refer to: Descriptions or measurements * Great, a relative measurement in physical space, see Size File:Comparison of planets and stars (sheet by sheet) (Oct 2014 update).png, A size comparison illustration comparing the sizes of vario ...
. The river traverses the
Canadian provinces The provinces and territories of Canada are sub-national divisions within the geographical areas of Canada under the jurisdiction of the Constitution of Canada, Canadian Constitution. In the 1867 Canadian Confederation, three provinces of Britis ...
of
Ontario ("Loyal she began, loyal she remains") , Label_map = yes , image_map = Ontario in Canada 2.svg , map_alt = Map showing Ontario's location east/central of Canada. , coordinates = , capi ...

Ontario
and
Quebec ) , image_shield=Armoiries du Québec.svg , image_flag=Flag of Quebec.svg , coordinates= , AdmittanceDate=July 1, 1867 , AdmittanceOrder=1st, with New Brunswick ("Hope restored") , image_map = New Brunswick in Canada 2.svg , ...

Quebec
as well as the
U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a W ...
of
New York New York most commonly refers to: * New York City, the most populous city in the United States, located in the state of New York * New York (state), a state in the Northeastern United States New York may also refer to: Film and television * New ...
, and is part of the
international boundary Borders are geographic Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method ...
between
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of . Its extend from the to the and northward into the , covering , making it the world's . Its southern and western , stretching , is the world's longest bi-national land border. Canada's capital ...

Canada
and the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country in . It consists of 50 , a , five major , 326 , and some . At , it is the world's . The United States shares significan ...

United States
. It also provides the basis for the commercial
St. Lawrence Seaway The Saint Lawrence Seaway (french: la Voie Maritime du Saint-Laurent) is a system of locks, canal Canals are waterways Channel (geography), channels, or artificial waterways, for water conveyance, or to service water transport vehicle ...
.


Names

Originally known by a variety of names by local
First Nations The First Nations (french: Premières Nations ) are groups of Canadian indigenous peoples, who are classified as distinct from the Inuit Inuit (; iu, ᐃᓄᐃᑦ 'the people', singular: Inuk, , dual: Inuuk, ) are a group of culturally s ...
, the St. Lawrence became known in French as ''le fleuve Saint-Laurent'' (also spelled ''St-Laurent'') in 1604 by
Samuel de Champlain Samuel de Champlain () (c. 13 August 1567#Fichier Origine, Fichier OrigineFor a detailed analysis of his baptismal record, see #Ritch, RitchThe baptism act does not contain information about the age of Samuel, neither his birth date or his place o ...
. Opting for the ''grande riviere de sainct Laurens'' and ''fleuve sainct Laurens'' in his writings and on his maps, de Champlain supplanted previous French names for the river including the ''Grand fleuve de Hochelaga'' and the ''Grande rivière de Canada'', which was the more popular name of the river in the 16th century. The name ''Saint-Laurent'' (Saint Lawrence) was originally applied to the by
Jacques Cartier Jacques Cartier ( , also , , ; br, Jakez Karter; 31 December 14911 September 1557) was a French- Breton maritime explorer Exploration is the act of searching for the purpose of discovery of information Information can be thoug ...

Jacques Cartier
upon his arrival into the region on the 10th of August
feast day The calendar of saints is the traditional Christian method of organizing a liturgical year by associating each day with one or more saint In religious belief, a saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of Q-D-Š, ho ...

feast day
for
Saint Lawrence Saint Lawrence or Laurence ( la, Laurentius, lit. "laurelled"; 31 December AD 225 – 10 August 258) was one of the seven deacons of the city of Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder ...
in 1535. Today, the river is still known by Indigenous nations by a number of distinct names.
Innu-aimun Innu-aimun or Montagnais is an Algonquian language spoken by over 10,000 Innu in Labrador , nickname = "The Big Land" , etymology = , subdivision_type = Country , subdivision_na ...
, the language of
Nitassinan Nitassinan (ᓂᑕᔅᓯᓇᓐ) is the ancestral homeland of the Innu The Innu / Ilnu ("man", "person") or Innut / Innuat / Ilnuatsh ("people"), formerly called Montagnais from the French colonial period (French language, French for "mountain ...
, refers to it as ''Wepistukujaw Sipo''/''Wepìstùkwiyaht sīpu''; the
Abenaki The Abenaki (Abnaki, Abinaki, ''Alnôbak'') are a Native American Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants * Native American ...
call it ''Moliantegok''/''Moliantekw'' ("Montréal River"), ''Kchitegw''/''Ktsitekw''/''Gicitegw'' ("Great River"), or ''Oss8genaizibo''/''Ws8genaisibo''/''Wsogenaisibo'' ("River of the Algonquins"); the
MohawkMohawk may refer to: Related to Native Americans *Mohawk people, an indigenous people of North America (Canada and New York) *Mohawk language, the language spoken by the Mohawk people *Mohawk hairstyle, from a hairstyle once thought to have been tr ...
refer to it in Kanienʼkéha as ''Roiatatokenti'', ''Raoteniateara'', ''Ken’tarókwen'', or ''Kaniatarowanénhne''; the Tuscarora call it ''Kahnawáˀkye'' or ''Kaniatarowanenneh'' ("Big Water Current"); the Algonquins (or Omàmiwininiwak) call it "the Walking Path" or ''Magtogoek'' or ''Kitcikanii sipi'', the "Large Water River"; the Huron-Wendats refer to it as ''Lada8anna'' or ''Laooendaooena''; and, the
Atikamekw The Atikamekw are the indigenous peoples in Canada, Indigenous inhabitants of the subnational Historical region, country or territory they call ''Nitaskinan'' ("Our Land"), in the upper Saint-Maurice River valley of Quebec (about north of Montre ...

Atikamekw
of
Nitaskinan Nitaskinan is the ancestral homeland of the Atikamekw people. It is located in the valley of the Saint-Maurice River in Quebec, Canada. It covers an area of 80,000 km2 (30,000 sq. mi.) On 8 September 2014, the Conseil de la Nation Atikamekw ...
refer to it as '' Micta sipi'' ("Huge River").


Geography

With the draining of the
Champlain Sea The Champlain Sea (french: Mer de Champlain) was a temporary inlet of the Atlantic Ocean, created by the retreating glaciers during the close of the last glacial period. The Sea once included lands in what are now the Canadian provinces of Quebec ...

Champlain Sea
, due to a rebounding continent from the
Last Glacial Maximum The Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), also referred to as the Late Glacial Maximum, was the most recent time during the Last Glacial Period that ice sheets In glaciology Lateral moraine on a glacier joining the Gorner Glacier, Zermatt">Gorner_Glac ...
, the St. Lawrence River was formed. The Champlain Sea lasted from about 13,000 years ago to about 10,000 years ago and was continuously shrinking during that time, a process that continues today. Today, the St. Lawrence River begins at the outflow of
Lake Ontario Lake Ontario (french: Lac Ontario) is one of the five Great Lakes File:Location of the Great Lakes in North America.jpg, upright=1.3, Location in North America The Great Lakes, also called the Great Lakes of North America or the Laurenti ...

Lake Ontario
and flows adjacent to
Gananoque Gananoque ( ) is a town in the Leeds and Grenville area of Ontario , Label_map = yes , image_map = Ontario in Canada 2.svg , map_alt = Map showing Ontario's location east/central of Canada. , co ...
,
Brockville Brockville, formerly Elizabethtown, is a city in Eastern Ontario, Canada in the Thousand Islands region. Although it is the seat of the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, it is politically independent of the county. It is included with ...
, Morristown, Ogdensburg, Massena,
Cornwall Cornwall (; kw, Kernow ) is a Historic counties of England, historic county and Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county in South West England. It is recognised as one of the Celtic nations, and is the homeland of the Cornish people ...

Cornwall
,
Montreal Montreal ( ; officially Montréal, ) is the List of the largest municipalities in Canada by population, second-most populous city in Canada and List of towns in Quebec, most populous city in the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian pro ...

Montreal
,
Trois-Rivières Trois-Rivières (, ) is a city in the Mauricie Mauricie () is a traditional and current administrative region of Quebec. La Mauricie National Park is contained within the region, making it a prime tourist location. The region has a land area of 35 ...

Trois-Rivières
, and
Quebec City Quebec City ( or ; french: Ville de Québec), officially Québec (), is the capital city of the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian province of Quebec. As of July 2016, the city had a population of 531,902, and the Communauté métrop ...

Quebec City
before draining into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the largest
estuary An estuary is a partially enclosed Coast, coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea. Estuaries form a transition zone between river environments and maritime envir ...

estuary
in the world. The estuary begins at the eastern tip of , just downstream from Quebec City. The river becomes tidal around Quebec City. The St. Lawrence River runs from the farthest headwater to the mouth and from the outflow of Lake Ontario. These numbers include the estuary; without the estuary the length from Lake Ontario is c. 500 km (c. 300 mi). The farthest headwater is the North River in the
Mesabi Range , north of Duluth, and far north of Minneapolis Minneapolis () is the most populous city in the US state of Minnesota and the seat of Hennepin County, Minnesota, Hennepin County. With an estimated population of 429,606 as of 2019, it is the Li ...
at
Hibbing Hibbing is a city in Saint Louis County, Minnesota Minnesota () is a U.S. state, state in the north central region of the United States. It is known as the "Land of 10,000 Lakes". Its official motto is , French for "The Star of the North". ...
, Minnesota. Its drainage area, which includes the Great Lakes, the world's largest system of freshwater lakes, is , of which is in Canada and is in the United States. The basin covers parts of
Ontario ("Loyal she began, loyal she remains") , Label_map = yes , image_map = Ontario in Canada 2.svg , map_alt = Map showing Ontario's location east/central of Canada. , coordinates = , capi ...

Ontario
and
Quebec ) , image_shield=Armoiries du Québec.svg , image_flag=Flag of Quebec.svg , coordinates= , AdmittanceDate=July 1, 1867 , AdmittanceOrder=1st, with New Brunswick ("Hope restored") , image_map = New Brunswick in Canada 2.svg , ...

Quebec
in Canada, parts of
Minnesota Minnesota () is a U.S. state, state in the Upper Midwest, upper Midwestern United States. It is the List of U.S. states and territories by area, 12th largest U.S. state in area and the List of U.S. states and territories by population, 22nd m ...

Minnesota
,
Wisconsin Wisconsin () is a in the , bordered by to the west, to the southwest, to the south, to the east, to the northeast, and to the north. Wisconsin is the and the . Three of its largest cities are situated on the southwestern shore of L ...

Wisconsin
,
Illinois Illinois ( ) is a in the region of the . Of the fifty U.S. states, it has the , population, and the . is the state's largest city and the fifth with the capital in , located in the center of the state; other major metropolitan areas in ...

Illinois
,
Indiana Indiana () is a U.S. state in the Midwestern The midwestern United States, often referred to simply as the Midwest, is one of four census regions of the United States Census Bureau The United States Census Bureau (USCB), officiall ...

Indiana
,
Ohio Ohio () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Col ...

Ohio
,
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania ( , elsewhere ; pdc, Pennsilfaani), officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastlines lie on endorheic basi ...

Pennsylvania
,
New York New York most commonly refers to: * New York City, the most populous city in the United States, located in the state of New York * New York (state), a state in the Northeastern United States New York may also refer to: Film and television * New ...
,
Vermont Vermont () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in ...

Vermont
, and nearly the entirety of the state of
Michigan Michigan () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Michigan
in the United States. The average discharge below the
Saguenay River __NOTOC__ The Saguenay River () is a major river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its ...
is . At Quebec City, it is . The average discharge at the river's source, the outflow of Lake Ontario, is . The St. Lawrence River includes
Lake Saint-Louis Lake Saint-Louis is a lake in southwestern Quebec ) , image_map = Quebec in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = Quebec French, French , capital ...
south of
Montreal Montreal ( ; officially Montréal, ) is the List of the largest municipalities in Canada by population, second-most populous city in Canada and List of towns in Quebec, most populous city in the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian pro ...

Montreal
, Lake Saint Francis at
Salaberry-de-Valleyfield Salaberry-de-Valleyfield is a city in southwestern Quebec, Canada, in the Beauharnois-Salaberry Regional County Municipality, Regional County Municipality of Beauharnois-Salaberry. The population as of 2019 was 42,410. Situated on Grande-Île, Qu ...
and
Lac Saint-Pierre Lake Saint Pierre () is a lake in Quebec, Canada, a widening of the Saint Lawrence River between Sorel-Tracy and Trois-Rivières. It is located downstream, and northeast, of Montreal; and upstream, and southwest, of Quebec City. The end of the lak ...
east of Montreal. It encompasses four
archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as ...

archipelago
es: the
Thousand Islands The Thousand Islands (french: Mille-Îles) constitute a North American archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of islands, or sometimes a sea containing a small ...

Thousand Islands
chain near
Alexandria Bay, New York Alexandria Bay is a village A village is a clustered human settlement or community, larger than a hamlet (place), hamlet but smaller than a town (although the word is often used to describe both hamlets and smaller towns), with a populat ...
and
Kingston, Ontario Kingston is a city in Ontario , Label_map = yes , image_map = Ontario in Canada 2.svg , map_alt = Map showing Ontario's location east/central of Canada. , coordinates = , capital ...
; the
Hochelaga Archipelago The Hochelaga Archipelago (), also known as the Montreal Montreal ( ; officially Montréal, , Tio'tia:ke in Mohawk language, Mohawk) is the List of the 100 largest municipalities in Canada by population, second-most populous city in Canada ...
, including the
Island of Montreal The Island of Montreal (french: Île de Montréal), in southwestern Quebec ) , image_shield=Armoiries du Québec.svg , image_flag=Flag of Quebec.svg , coordinates= , AdmittanceDate=July 1, 1867 , AdmittanceOrder=1st, with New Brunswick ...
and Île Jésus (
Laval Laval means ''The Valley'' in old French and is the name of: People * House of Laval, a French noble family originating from the town of Laval, Mayenne * Laval (surname) Places Belgium * Laval, a village in the municipality of Sainte-Ode, Luxembo ...
); the Lake St. Pierre Archipelago (classified biosphere world reserve by the UNESCO in 2000) and the smaller
Mingan Archipelago The Mingan Archipelago is an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of islands, or sometimes a sea containing a small number of scattered islands. Indonesian Arch ...
. Other islands include Île d'Orléans near Quebec City and
Anticosti Island Anticosti Island (french: Île d'Anticosti; moe, Notiskuan; mic, Natigostec) is an island in the Minganie Regional County Municipality, in administrative region of Côte-Nord, the province of Quebec, Canada. This island is located at the outle ...
north of the Gaspé. It is the second longest river in Canada.
Lake Champlain , native_name_lang = , image = Champlainmap.svg , caption = Lake Champlain-River Richelieu watershed , image_bathymetry = , caption_bathymetry = , location = New York (state), New York/Vermont in the United States; and Quebec in Canada , ...

Lake Champlain
and the
Ottawa Ottawa (, ; Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Canadians, many (or all) of these connections exist and are ...
, Richelieu, Saint-Maurice, Saint-François, Chaudière and Saguenay rivers drain into the St. Lawrence. The St. Lawrence River is in a seismically active zone where
fault Fault commonly refers to: *Fault (geology), planar rock fractures showing evidence of relative movement *Fault (law), blameworthiness or responsibility Fault(s) may also refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * "Fault", a song by Taproot from ...
reactivation is believed to occur along late
Proterozoic The Proterozoic () is a geological eon spanning the time interval from 2500 to 541million years ago. It is the most recent part of the Precambrian The Precambrian (or Pre-Cambrian, sometimes abbreviated pꞒ, or Cryptozoic) is the earliest par ...
to early
Paleozoic The Paleozoic (or Palaeozoic) Era ( ; from the Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its popula ...
normal faults related to the opening of the
Iapetus Ocean upright=1.35, Reconstruction of how the Iapetus Ocean and surrounding continents might have been arranged during the late Ediacaran period (geology), period The Iapetus Ocean (pronounced ) was an ocean that existed in the late Neoproterozoic and e ...
. The faults in the area are
rift 200px, Gulf of Suez Rift showing main extensional faults">extensional_fault.html" ;"title="Gulf of Suez Rift showing main extensional fault">Gulf of Suez Rift showing main extensional faults In geology, a rift is a linear zone where the lithos ...

rift
-related and comprise the Saint Lawrence rift system. According to the United States Geological Survey, the St. Lawrence Valley is a
physiographic province A physiographic province is a geographic region with a characteristic geomorphology, and often specific subsurface rock type or structural elements. The continents are subdivided into various physiographic provinces, each having a specific characte ...
of the larger
AppalachianAppalachian may refer to: * The Appalachian Mountains, a major mountain range in eastern United States and Canada * The Appalachian Trail, a hiking trail in the eastern United States * The people of Appalachia and their culture ** Appalachian Americ ...

Appalachian
division, containing the and Northern physiographic section. However, in Canada, where most of the valley is, it is instead considered part of a distinct St. Lawrence Lowlands physiographic division, and not part of the Appalachian division at all.


History

Flowing through and adjacent to numerous
Indigenous Indigenous may refer to: *Indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are culturally distinct ethnic groups who are native to a particular place. The term ' ...
, the large river was always and remains to this day a primary thoroughfare for many peoples. Beginning in Dawnland at the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the river borders Mi'kma'ki in the South (what is today known as the
Canadian Maritimes The Maritimes, also called the Maritime provinces, is a region In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics ( physical geography), human impact characteristics ( human geography), and the interaction of h ...
), and
Nitassinan Nitassinan (ᓂᑕᔅᓯᓇᓐ) is the ancestral homeland of the Innu The Innu / Ilnu ("man", "person") or Innut / Innuat / Ilnuatsh ("people"), formerly called Montagnais from the French colonial period (French language, French for "mountain ...
in the North, the
national territory A federal territory is an area under the direct and usually exclusive jurisdiction of a federation's central or national government. A federal territory is an area that is part of a federation but not part of any federated state A federated ...

national territory
of the
Innu people The Innu / Ilnu ("man", "person") or Innut / Innuat / Ilnuatsh ("people"), formerly called Montagnais from the French colonial period (French language, French for "mountain people", English pronunciation: ), are the Indigenous peoples in Canad ...
. On the south shore beyond the Mi'kmaw district of Gespe'gewa'ki, the river passes Wolastokuk (the
Maliseet The Wəlastəkwewiyik, or Maliseet (, also spelled Malecite), are an Algonquian-speaking First Nation The First Nations (french: Premières Nations ) are the largest group of indigenous peoples in Canada, Canadian indigenous peoples, disti ...
homeland), Pαnawαhpskewahki (the
Penobscot The Penobscot (''Panawahpskek'') are an Indigenous people in North America from the Northeastern Woodlands region. They are organized as a federally recognized tribe This is a list of federally recognized tribes in the contiguous United States ...

Penobscot
homeland), and Ndakinna (the
Abenaki The Abenaki (Abnaki, Abinaki, ''Alnôbak'') are a Native American Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants * Native American ...
homeland). Continuing, the river passes through the former country of the St. Lawrence Iroquois and then three of the six homelands of the
Haudenosaunee The Iroquois ( or ) or Haudenosaunee (; "People of the Longhouse") are an Indigenous peoples of the Americas, indigenous Confederation#Indigenous confederations in North America, confederacy in northeast North America. They were known during t ...
: the Mohawk or Kanienʼkehá꞉ka, the Oneida or Onyota'a:ka, and the Onondaga or Onöñda’gaga’. In the early 17th century, the
Huron-Wendat Nation The Huron-Wendat Nation is a Huron-Wendat First Nation The First Nations (french: Premières Nations ) are the largest group of indigenous peoples in Canada, Canadian indigenous peoples, distinct from the Inuit and Métis. Traditionally the Fir ...
migrated from their original country of Huronia to what is now known as Nionwentsïo centred around Wendake. Nionwentsïo occupies both the north and south shores of the river, overlapping with Nitassinan and the more western Wabanaki or Dawnland countries. Adjacent on the north shore is the Atikamekw territorial homeland of
Nitaskinan Nitaskinan is the ancestral homeland of the Atikamekw people. It is located in the valley of the Saint-Maurice River in Quebec, Canada. It covers an area of 80,000 km2 (30,000 sq. mi.) On 8 September 2014, the Conseil de la Nation Atikamekw ...
and, upstream, the further reaches of Anishinaabewaki, specifically the homelands of the
Algonquin Algonquin or Algonquian—and the variation Algonki(a)n—may refer to: Indigenous peoples *Algonquian languages, a large subfamily of Native American languages in a wide swath of eastern North America from Canada to Virginia **Algonquin languag ...
and
Mississauga Mississauga ( ) is a city in the Canadian province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, fir ...
Nations. The Norse explored the Gulf of St. Lawrence in the 11th century and were followed by fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century European mariners, such as
John Cabot John Cabot ( it, Giovanni Caboto ; 1450 – 1500) was an Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian la ...

John Cabot
, and the brothers Gaspar and Miguel Corte-Real. The first European explorer known to have sailed up the St. Lawrence River itself was
Jacques Cartier Jacques Cartier ( , also , , ; br, Jakez Karter; 31 December 14911 September 1557) was a French- Breton maritime explorer Exploration is the act of searching for the purpose of discovery of information Information can be thoug ...

Jacques Cartier
. At that time, the land along the river described as "about two leagues, a mountain as tall as a heap of wheat" was inhabited by the St. Lawrence Iroquoians; at the time of Cartier's second voyage in 1535. Because Cartier arrived in the estuary on Lawrence of Rome, Saint Lawrence's feast day 10 August, he named it the ''Gulf of Saint Lawrence''. The St. Lawrence River is partly within the U.S. and as such is that country's sixth oldest surviving European place-name. The earliest regular Europeans in the area were the History of the Basque people#Modern Period, Basques, who came to the St Lawrence Gulf and River in pursuit of whales from the early 16th century. The History of Basque whaling, Basque whalers and fishermen traded with indigenous Americans and set up settlements, leaving vestiges all over the coast of eastern Canada and deep into the St. Lawrence River. Basque commercial and fishing activity reached its peak before the ''Armada Invencibles disaster (1588), when the Spanish Basque whaling fleet was confiscated by King Philip II of Spain and largely destroyed. Initially, the whaling galleons from Labourd were not affected by the Spanish defeat. Until the early 17th century, the French used the name ''Rivière du Canada'' to designate the St. Lawrence upstream to Montreal and the Ottawa River after Montreal. The St. Lawrence River served as the main route for European exploration of the North American interior, first pioneered by French explorer
Samuel de Champlain Samuel de Champlain () (c. 13 August 1567#Fichier Origine, Fichier OrigineFor a detailed analysis of his baptismal record, see #Ritch, RitchThe baptism act does not contain information about the age of Samuel, neither his birth date or his place o ...
. Control of the river was crucial to Great Britain in the Seven Years War, British strategy to capture New France in the Seven Years' War. Having Siege of Louisbourg (1758), captured Louisbourg in 1758, the British sailed up to Quebec the following year thanks to charts drawn up by James Cook. British troops were ferried via the St. Lawrence to attack the city from the west, which they successfully did at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. The river was used again by the British Battle of Neuville, to defeat the French siege of Quebec under the Chevalier de Lévis in 1760. In 1809, the first steamboat to ply its trade on the St. Lawrence was built and operated by John Molson and associates, a scant two years after Fulton's steam-powered navigation of the Hudson River. The ''PS Accommodation, Accommodation'' with ten passengers made her maiden voyage from Montreal to Quebec City in 66 hours, for 30 of which she was at anchor. She had a keel of 75 feet, and a length overall of 85 feet. The cost of a ticket was eight dollars upstream, and nine dollars down. She had berths that year for twenty passengers. Within a decade, daily service was available in the hotly-contested Montreal-Quebec route. Because of the virtually impassable Lachine Rapids, the St. Lawrence was once continuously navigable only as far as Montreal. Opened in 1825, the Lachine Canal was the first to allow ships to pass the rapids. An extensive system of canals and locks, known as the
St. Lawrence Seaway The Saint Lawrence Seaway (french: la Voie Maritime du Saint-Laurent) is a system of locks, canal Canals are waterways Channel (geography), channels, or artificial waterways, for water conveyance, or to service water transport vehicle ...
, was officially opened on 26 June 1959 by Elizabeth II (representing Canada) and President Dwight D. Eisenhower (representing the United States). The Seaway (including the Welland Canal) now permits ocean-going vessels to pass all the way to Lake Superior. During the World War II, Second World War, the Battle of the St. Lawrence involved submarine and anti-submarine actions throughout the lower St. Lawrence River and the entire Gulf of St. Lawrence, Strait of Belle Isle and Cabot Strait from May to October 1942, September 1943, and again in October and November 1944. During this time, German U-boats sank several merchant marine ships and three Canadian warships. In the late 1970s, the river was the subject of a successful ecological campaign (called "Save the River"), originally responding to planned development by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The campaign was organized, among others, by Abbie Hoffman.


Resident whales


Sources

The source of the North River in the
Mesabi Range , north of Duluth, and far north of Minneapolis Minneapolis () is the most populous city in the US state of Minnesota and the seat of Hennepin County, Minnesota, Hennepin County. With an estimated population of 429,606 as of 2019, it is the Li ...
in
Minnesota Minnesota () is a U.S. state, state in the Upper Midwest, upper Midwestern United States. It is the List of U.S. states and territories by area, 12th largest U.S. state in area and the List of U.S. states and territories by population, 22nd m ...

Minnesota
(Seven Beaver Lake) is considered to be the source of the St. Lawrence River. Because it crosses so many lakes, the water system frequently changes its name. From source to mouth, the names are: The St. Lawrence River also passes through
Lake Saint-Louis Lake Saint-Louis is a lake in southwestern Quebec ) , image_map = Quebec in Canada 2.svg , Label_map = yes , coordinates = , official_lang = Quebec French, French , capital ...
and Lake Saint-Pierre in Quebec.


Works

The St. Lawrence River is at the heart of many Quebec novels (Anne Hébert's ''Kamouraska (novel), Kamouraska'', Réjean Ducharme's ''L'avalée des avalés''), poems (in works of Pierre Morency, Bernard Pozier), and songs (Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne (Leonard Cohen song), Suzanne", Michel Rivard's "L'oubli", Joe Dassin's "Dans les yeux d'Émilie", and André Gagnon's "Le Saint-Laurent"). The river was the setting for the Canadian television drama series Seaway (TV series), Seaway. The river has also been portrayed in paintings, notably by the Group of Seven (artists), Group of Seven. In addition, the river is the namesake of Saint-Laurent Herald at the Canadian Heraldic Authority. In 1980 Jacques Cousteau traveled to Canada to make two films on the St. Lawrence River and the
Great Lakes upright=1.3, Location in North America The Great Lakes also called the Great Lakes of North America or the Laurentian Great Lakes, is a series of large interconnected freshwater lake A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a ...

Great Lakes
, ''Cries from the Deep'' and ''St. Lawrence: Stairway to the Sea''. Musician David Usher released the song "St. Lawrence River" on his ''Little Songs (David Usher album), Little Songs'' album in 1998. The novel and film ''Black Robe'' are set primarily on the St. Lawrence River during the 17th century.


See also


References


Bibliography


External links


Regional Geography of the St. Lawrence RiverInformation about Juniper Island (Ontario)Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System
– Historical essay, illustrated with drawings and photographs
Annotated Bibliography on St. Lawrence County and Northern New York region.International St. Lawrence River Board of ControlSaint Lawrence River from ''The Canadian Encyclopedia''St. Lawrence River CamWatch the Jacques Cousteau documentary, ''St. Lawrence: Stairway to the Sea''The Steamboats ''Sir James Kemp'' and ''Lord Dalhousie'' on the River St. Lawrence, Upper Canada in 1833 by D.J. Kennedy, Historical Society of Pennsylvania
{{Authority control Saint Lawrence River, North American watersheds of the Atlantic Ocean, Physiographic provinces International rivers of North America Rivers of New York (state) Rivers of Ontario Canada–United States border Rivers of Montérégie Rivers of Capitale-Nationale Rivers of St. Lawrence County, New York Regions of New York (state) Rivers of Quebec