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Samuel Champlain

Page history last edited by Mr. Ullman 8 years, 5 months ago

     Samuel de Champlain by Cecily Weinstein


     Samuel de Champlain was born in Brouage, France in approximately 1567.  His father, Antoine Champlain was a master seaman and when Samuel was a boy he learned how to navigate ships while sailing with his father and his uncle.  Champlain was well-educated and was an expert cartographer.  He fought in Henry IV's army in the late 1500's and he impressed Henry IV so much that he was given the title "de" meaning "of noble rank".  Champlain's religion was most likely Protestant when he was born, but later in life he became a Roman Catholic.  Champlaine was married to Helene Boulle in 1610.  She was only 12 years old and he was about 43 years old.  They did not have children although he may have adopted three aboriginal girls.  In 1635, he died of a stroke in Quebec on Christmas day at the age of 68.  


     Champlain made several voyages to Canada.  In 1603 he sailed to Canada as a geographer on a fur-trading expedition led by Francois Grave Du Pont. They sailed up the Saguenay and the St. Lawrence Rivers.  They explored the Gaspe Peninsula and Acadia and returned to France.  The following year, 1604, Champlain returned to Canada to settle the Gaspe Peninsula and search for a Northwest Passage.  On his third trip in 1608, which he led, Champlain founded a settlement and trading post along the St. Lawrence River that eventually became the city of Quebec. It was the first permanent white settlement in Canada, which makes Quebec the oldest city in Canada. In 1609 Champlain discoverd Lake Champlain in New York, which he named after himself.  He and the men he travelled with faced many hardships such as cold winters and battles with Iriquois indians during these expeditions and many men died, but Champlain survived.  He was a strong and determined man.  He is known as the "Father of New France".


    Champlain left many lasting effects on North America.  Not only is there a very famous lake named after him, but he remains one of the most notable cartographers of the Age of Exploration. His map from 1607, is now at the Library of Congress and is considered an “American Treasure.” It is the first thorough map of the New England and Canadian coastline from Cape Sable to Cape Cod.  Champlain's french heritage and language remains in Quebec to this day, along with some parts of Nova Scotia.  He dreamed of adding a "great domain to France" and of bringing wealth through trading, and of spreading the Catholic faith and discovering the geography of the great and mysterious continent of North America. “No other European colony in America," said the historian Samuel Eliot Morison, “is so much the lengthened shadow of one man as Canada is of the valiant, wise, and virtuous Samuel de Champlain.” 


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