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Facts about Samuel De Champlain for Kids


Samuel de Champlain, “The Father of New France”, was a French navigator, cartographer, draughtsman, soldier, explorer, geographer, ethnologist, diplomat, and chronicler. He founded New France and Quebec City on July 3, 1608.

  • He is important to Canadian history because he made the first accurate map of the coast and he helped establish the settlements.
  • Born into a family of mariners, Champlain, while still a young man, began exploring North America in 1603 under the guidance of François Gravé Du Pont, From 1604 to 1607 Champlain participated in the exploration and settlement of the first permanent European settlement north of Florida, Port Royal, Acadia (1605).
  • Then, in 1608, he established the French settlement that is now Quebec City.
  • Champlain was the first European to explore and describe the Great Lakes, and published maps of his journeys and accounts of what he learned from the natives and the French living among the Natives.
  • He formed relationships with local Montagnais and Innu and later with others farther west (Ottawa River, Lake Nipissing, or Georgian Bay), with Algonquin and with Huron Wendat, and agreed to provide assistance in their wars against the Iroquois.
  • In 1620, Louis XIII ordered Champlain to cease exploration, return to Quebec, and devote himself to the administration of the country.
  • In every way but formal title, Samuel de Champlain served as Governor of New France, a title that may have been formally unavailable to him owing to his non-noble status.
  • He established trading companies that sent goods, primarily fur, to France, and oversaw the growth of New France in the St. Lawrence River valley until his death in 1635.
  • Champlain is also memorialized as the “Father of New France” and “Acadia”, and many places, streets, and structures in northeastern North America bear his name, or have monuments established in his memory.
  • In 1609 he led an expedition up the Richelieu River and explored a long, narrow lake situated between the Green Mountains of present-day Vermontand the Adirondack Mountains of present-day New York; he named the lake after himself as the first European to map and describe it.
  • Born into a family of mariners (both his father and uncle-in-law were sailors, or navigators), Samuel Champlain learned to navigate, draw, make nautical charts, and write practical reports.
  • As each French fleet had to assure its own defense at sea, Champlain sought to learn fighting with the firearms of his time: he acquired this practical knowledge when serving with the army of King Henry IV during the later stages of France’s religious wars in Brittany from 1594 or 1595 to 1598, beginning as a quartermaster responsible for the feeding and care of horses.
  • In 1598, his uncle-in-law, a navigator whose ship Saint-Julien was chartered to transport Spanish troops to Cadiz pursuant to the Treaty of Vervins, gave Champlain the opportunity to accompany him.
  • This inheritance, combined with the king’s annual pension, gave the young explorer a great deal of independence, as he was not dependent on the financial backing of merchants and other investors.
  • From 1601 to 1603 Champlain served as a geographer in the court of King Henry.
  • When Chauvin forfeited his monopoly on fur trade in North America in 1602, responsibility for renewing the trade was given to Aymar de Chaste.
  • This trip, once again an exploratory journey without women and children, lasted several years, and focused on areas south of the St. Lawrence River, in what later became known as Acadia.