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Samuel De Champlain
(c. 1570-1635):
Father of New France


Little is known about Champlain's early life. He was born in France and grew up in a seaport town. He served in the army where he learned how to navigate. He made a trip to the West Indies, which gave him a chance to practice making maps and recording observations of what he saw. He was a very careful observer and always tried to see things without judging them.

In 1603 Champlain made the first of many trips to North America. He sailed the St. Lawrence River and mapped most of it. Champlain recognized that the area had potential to be a good place to establish a colony. He returned and started the first settlement at Quebec in 1608. In 1609 he battled the Iroquois and started a war that lasted 90 years.

Champlain superintending the building of his Habitation
Champlain superintending the
building of his Habitation

Champlain took good care of the colonists. The winters were long and cold so he started a group called the Order of Good Cheer. Banquets and entertainment were held to cheer up the settlers.

He had to leave Quebec in 1629, when the English captured the settlement. He returned in 1633, and died there two years later.

Ask yourself...
What do you think Champlain's most important accomplishment was?

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