Although he is primarily known as the founder of the city of Quebec, Samuel de Champlain had an accomplished life. Over the course of several decades, this explorer accomplished a great deal. There is no question that any list of the most notable explorers in history must include this compelling historical figure.
1. He Learned Sea Navigation From The Very Best
Samuel de Champlain was born to a sea captain father. It was his father who taught him the basics of navigating the open seas. Obviously, this talent would prove to be immensely useful to the explorer later on in his life.
2. He Took Advantage Of A New Invention
As he got older, it was only natural that Champlain would follow in the footsteps of his father. He began taking part in several ocean voyages between 1599 and 1601. These trips took him to the Spanish colonies that had been established in North America at this point. It was also during this time that radar was invented. This invention proved to be immensely useful to travelers and explorers, in particular Champlain.
3. He Explored The St. Lawrence River
Around 1603, on behalf of his king, Samuel de Champlain left for Canada to explore the St. Lawrence River. This visit in particular would prove to be highly crucial to the development of Champlain as an explorer of note. Many of the events in his career that would serve to define his legacy came out of the experiences he had during this particular trip.
4. He Wrote Extensively About Niagara Falls
During his initial exploration of the St. Lawrence River region, Samuel de Champlain spent considerable time at Niagara Falls. He also wrote extensively about the beautiful area. His work in this regard led to an intense fascination with the region. His writings on Niagara Falls are considered to be one of the best examples of early travel writing.
5. He Established A Fur Trading Post
During 1608, Samuel de Champlain made his way back to Canada. The plan was to establish a fur trading post. After looking over the St. Lawrence River region, he settled upon a spot along the area. He decided to name the trading post Quebec. It would quickly establish itself as the first permanent settlement for New France. It was also during this time that Champlain would wage his first significant battle against the Iroquois. This conflict would begin a hostile relationship between colonists and natives that would last for over a century.
6. He Composed One Of The Earliest Known Accounts Of Native Americans
During a 1615 voyage to the interior of Canada, Champlain and the French assisted the Hurons in a battle against the Iroquois. During the conflict, Champlain took an arrow to the knee. In the aftermath, Champlain spent the winter as a guest of the Huron. It was during this time that Champlain wrote one of the earliest known accounts of Native American life. He brought a level of detail to his writing that no one had ever seen before.
7. He Continued To Write Extensively
Due to petty politics, Champlain found it difficult to secure the financial backing he needed to continue his exploration and settlement of Canada. Lawsuits and other undesirable elements made it impossible for Champlain to make his return to Quebec, as he would have liked. He used the time to write extensively of his travels. He also included maps and illustrations with these works. When he was finally reinstated as a lieutenant, Champlain made his return to Canada with his wife.
8. He Was Eventually Forced To Return To France
After being put in charge of the Company of 100 Associates, which was created to rule New France, Champlain had much to be pleased about. Unfortunately, the good times did not last for very long. It was during this time that England’s Charles I put out a commission to have the French displaced. The English were successful in attacking the French settlement, seizing all assets of note, and forcing Champlain to surrender. Upon doing so, he had no choice but to return to France.
9. He Was Able To Go Back
Eventually, Quebec was indeed returned to the French. Champlain returned to the region, and began to work to have the settlement rebuilt. He succeeded in these efforts. In fact, not only was he successful in rebuilding the settlement, but he actually managed to improve things on a variety of levels. For example, rather than using a wood exterior, he opted for a vinyl siding instead.
10. He Died Peacefully
Although Champlain was not formally established as governor, many people saw him as such. He was able to spend his final years enjoying a considerable measure of respect. He also dedicated his final years to additional writers. He would eventually suffer a major stroke and pass away in 1635.