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Samuel De Champlain


Samuel De Champlain

b. 1567 Brouage, France d. 1635 Quebec, Canada


Champlain was schooled in navigation and mapmaking by his father, a captain in the French Navy. His first voyage to the New World took in all of the West Indies, Mexico, and Panama, and his record of life in the ports of Central America was so impressive his king, Henry IV, immediately appointed him to the post of royal geographer.
In 1603, on a trading expedition, he traveled up the St. Lawrence as far as the treacherous Lachine Rapids. He returned to France, but almost at once, he struck out again for the New World, this time with a group of colonists. Arriving on shore, they built shelters and a storehouse at the mouth of the St. Croix River but later moved to a site better fit for living at Port Royal in Acadia (now Nova Scotia). While his followers occupied themselves trying to establish more than a toehold there, Champlain navigated the Atlantic coastline as far south as Martha's Vineyard and made the first accurate maps of that region. The Port Royal colony failed in 1607, and Champlain went home to France.
His career was brought back to life the next year with his appointment as lieutenant governor. In short order he founded Quebec, made alliances (Friendships) with the Hurons, and discovered Lake Champlain while on a journey with them to make war against the Iroquois. Champlain himself supplied the guns for that battle, thereby firing in the Iroquois a deadly animosity (dislike) toward the French.
During his expedition of 1613-15, Champlain became the first European to explore rivers in the hope of reaching the Pacific. After traveling as far as Georgian Bay and Lake Huron, he chose to be based in Quebec, where he was leader of the colony. Whenever he sailed back to France, it was to gain new support and secure additional supplies.
The British seized Quebec in 1629 and ordered that Champlain be transported to England. By 1632, however, he had succeeded in having the colony restored to France and himself returned to Quebec. It was there that he died, holding the official title of governor.
"In Champlain alone was the life of New France," wrote historian Francis Parkman. In his will - from beyond the grave, as it were - Champlain urged those who would follow him to keep advancing west and to plant the French flag on the Pacific coast.


                                           Click on the maps to enlarge them


Below are links and sites for more information about Samuel de Champlain


Samuel de Champlain, French Explorer

Samuel de Champlain's 1607 Map

Samuel de Champlain

Samuel de Champlain Links

Samuel de Champlain Links





This site was last updated 08/04/2004 08:08 PM -0400