Samuel de Champlain discovered and rediscovered many
locations in the New World. He was trained in seamanship,
navigation and map making. Champlain wrote a book on how
the Indians lived. The book had the best information about
the Indians at that time. He made many voyages to the New
Champlain was born in Brouage, France in 1567. Samuel went
to war in Brittany when he was a young man. After the war
he received a reward of money. He was given command of a
small ship going to the West Indies. This voyage was the
beginning of his adventures to the New World. After a long
time of exploring he was nicknamed the "Father of New
Champlain was helped by his uncle, a general of a fleet of
the King of Spain, to get the command of the ship going to
the West Indies. He first saw the New World under the
Spanish flag. Champlain cruised the West Indies and along
the coast of the main land from Panama to Mexico. He saw
the ancient ruins of Mexico City. Champlain was the first
to suggest digging a canal to connect the Pacific and
He was asked by Aymar de Clermont, Governor of Dieppe to
explore the St. Lawrence. The leader of the expedition was
a merchant named Pontgrave. Aymar de Clermont equipped two
ships that were slightly larger then a fishing boat. The
ships entered the Strait of Belle Isle. As they traveled
Champlain saw the ruins of Cartier's old fort at Tadoussac.
He also saw Mt. Royal which Cartier named sixty years
before. The Indian village of Hochelaga had disappeared,
and there were only a few Algonquin Indians.
A little south of the St. Lawrence River was a settlement
they called St. Croix. In the winter after the ships left
there were ninety- nine people. They were being paid by de
Monts company. When scurvy came it took half of the
settlers. This time there wasn't a magic tree that had
saved Cartier's men.
When they saw that the colony wasn't doing so great they
decided to establish a new settlement at a different
location. They anchored at Port Royal which is now
Annapolis. At this spot they were unsuccessful at growing
crops. Back in England the King canceled de Monts monopoly
or in other words canceled sending supplies. When the men
heard the news they packed up and abandoned Port Royal.
Shortly after that happened De Mont received a new
fur-trade agreement for one year. De Mont was also eager to
start colonies and fitted out two ships for this
expedition. He gave command of one ship to Pontgrave to
establish fur-trading with the Indians. The other ship to
Champlain, so he could find a western passage to Asia.
Champlain left eight days after Pontgrave. When Champlain
arrived he saw Pontgrave's ship and a Basque vessel. The
Basque ship was there for fur-trading but the trading
rights belonged to de Mont.
When the Spanish were told to stop they opened fire.
Pontgrave and two others were wounded and one man was
killed. When that happened Pontgrave ceased the cannons and
guns and he would return them when the Spanish left. When
Champlain's ship came into sight the Spanish were scared
and offered to make peace. After Champlain helped Pontgrave
he continued to sail up river to Quebec and founded a
colony that would last.
At Quebec they started to build a fort. First they built a
strong wall and moat. On top of the wall were one hundred
poles for muskets. The wall was surrounding a small house,
an armory and forge. There were small cannons that over
looked the river. When the building was all done Champlain
made a sketch of it. Champlain oversaw every aspect of the
construction of the fort.
Champlain heard of a plot by Spaniards to murder him and
take over the fort by a man named Duval. He made a plan
right away when he heard this. The plan was to send bottles
of wine over to the vessel with a captain he could trust.
He told the captain to invite the plotters aboard to
celebrate. When the plotters were rowing to the ship they
were grabbed and manacled, then dragged ashore. After a
quick trial Duval was beheaded. His head was stuck on a
long pole above the rooftop as a warning to other traitors.
The other three plotters were sent back to France. There
they were sentenced to be galley slaves.
In the winter the men suffered less from cold and hunger
then earlier explorers. Scurvy took it's stand and out of
the twenty eight only eight survived. Those eight had to
spend their time trapping, fishing and getting fire wood.
All navigation along the river was stopped November through
May because of the ice.
On June fifth Pontgrave's ship arrived full of supplies for
the colony. Thanks to Portgrave, Champlain could now go
west to find an all water route to Asia. He could also make
alliances with Indians to build up the fur-trade. For
success on this expedition he would have to depend on the
Indians around the Great Lakes. Because of that reason he
had to learn as much as he could about them.
Champlain was asked by the Indians to help them fight the
Iroquois. Guided by the Indians they safely passed through
channels around the islands. When they reached the mouth of
the river Champlain named it Richelieu. The river became to
shallow for the shallop boat. So Champlain told most of his
man to go back to Quebec with it. Only two were elected to
stay with him. While this was happening, quarrels rose
among the Indians and three fourths of them deserted and
The expedition was now left with twenty-four canoes, sixty
warriors and only three white men. The river broadened into
a great fresh water lake. The white men named it Lake
Champlain. The lake was dotted with islands and the edge
was stretching as far south as the eye could see. By then
they grew more cautious because they were in enemy land.
One of the cautions that were taken was to travel by night
and hide in thickets by day. They intended to paddle to the
end of Lake Champlain to Lake George, then from there to
the Hudson River and go down to the Iroquois village. There
was a big advantage of the Indian canoe with the birch bark
and light frame which made it easier for portage between
any stream or lake.
During there journey they spied dark silhouettes and a
flotilla of Iroquois canoes. Neither side wanted to fight a
sea battle at night. The Iroquois beached the canoes and
began to cut down trees for a palisade. The Algonquins
yelled insults to the Iroquois. At dawn the French got
ready for the fight against the Iroguois.
Just before the attack the French lit there flints. Each
Frenchmen concealed themselves in a canoe. When they shot
at the Iroquois they killed two men and wounded another.
The shots scared the Iroquois and they ran into the forest.
There the Hurons were pursuing them and captured and killed
some of the Iroquois.
When Champlain raided another Iroquois village he was
wounded twice. He spent the winter at the Huron Indian
village. When Champlain was able to travel again he
returned to Quebec.
Quebec began to slowly grow. The Jesuits came and built a
church, a convent for nuns, schools and a hospital. In 1628
war broke out between England and France. Champlain
surrendered Quebec to the English and returned to France.
In 1630 peace was signed and Quebec was returned to France
once again. Champlain returned to Quebec and resumed his
duties as governor in 1633.
Champlain was a strong, good-natured man who kept his word.
He had many ideas including a joint agriculture and
fur-trading company between the French and Indians. Along
with other accomplishments Samuel de Champlain was the
first white explorer to gaze upon on of the Great Lakes,
Lake Huron. In 1635 Champlain died on Christmas Day in
Quebec, the city he founded.