Introduction of Saint-Lawrence-River
River, approximately 750 mi long. The outlet of theGreat Lakes, it begins at the NE end of Lake Ontarioand flows NE to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. For part ofits course it forms the U.S.-Canada border. One ofthe most important rivers of North America, the St.Lawrence played a leading role in the exploration ofthe continent and , later, in its commercial life. Its valleywas a major battlefield in the British-French strugglefor control of a large part of North America,which did not end until 1763.The river was discovered in 1534 by JacquesCartier, who claimed possession of the region forFrance. Its discovery led to speculation that Cartierhad found the fabled Northwest Passage, a shortcutfrom the Atlantic to the Orient around the Americas.On a second voyage in 1535-36, Cartier wentup the river to the vicinity of present Quebec, thenon to Hochelaga, an Indian village on the site of presentMontreal. On his third voyage of 1541-42, hereached the Lachine Rapids. Many other French furtraders, missionaries, and explorers used the river,usually starting at Montreal. The French and Britishfought and besieged each other along the river and later, during the American Revolution, the Americancolonists tried to detach Canada from Great Britainby taking Quebec and Montreal and thus controllingthe waterway.Since 1825, when the first Lachine Canal wasopened to get around the Lachine Rapids near Montreal,work has been undertaken to make the rivermore easily navigable and capable of carrying largerships. Such work culminated in the St. Lawrence Seaway,a joint project of the United States and Canada,which was completed in 1959 and makes it possiblefor oceangoing vessels to sail from the north of the St.Lawrence to Lake Superior.