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| Champlain told his life story
in the form of his Voyages or travels. In 1603, he was asked
to join De Chastesí expedition. He asked Henry IV for permission. The king gave it to
him and asked for a report of what was discovered. Champlain was 36 at the time, from a sea-faring family.The he may have been a Huguenot at birth (Samuel was a common Huguenot name), he was definitely a Catholic in adult life. [Colby, 61]
In 1603, he traveled up the St. Lawrence and brought beaver skins and Indians back to France. De Chastes, who initiated the 1603 expedition, died before the ships returned. As a result, colonization efforts switched from the St. Lawrence to Acadia. The efforts were taken over by De Monts, who wanted to establish a colony, but in a better climate than the Gulf of St. Lawrence. In 1600, Chauvin (a merchant of Honfleur) left 16 men to winter in Tadoussac (down the St. Lawrence), but most of them died before spring. For the next few years, French ships entered the St. Lawrence only to find beaver skins.
| From 1604 to 1607, Champlain studied the coast
from Acadia to Marthaís Vineyard. He made observations and maps.
We owe the names Port Royal, St. John River, and Mount Desert to him.
When the Acadian colony failed (and Du Monts lost money), Champlain tried
to push interest in the St. Lawrence. [Colby, 65]
Champlain landed 27 colonists (and himself) at Quebec in 1608. Lescarbot, in 1609, published Histoire de la Nouvelle France. In it, he notes that Champlainís goal was to find a western or northern sea to open the route to China. Pontgrave (the well known St. Malo captain) left them in September 1908. By the beginning of the next summer, only 7 and the leader had survived. Scurvy and other factors were often fatal. The colony remained a handful until after the 1st capture by the English in 1629. From Quebec, Champlain made expeditions into the wilderness in 1609, 1613, and 1615.
| When France regained Canada
under the Peace of St. Germain, Champlain returned as governor. He died
on Christmas, 1635. [Colby, 75-76]
His work, Voyages of Samuel de Champlain, is available online.
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