If you ask people who Samuel de Champlain was, many will say he founded the city of Québec in 1608. And they’re right. Québec was the first francophone city in North America, which is why so many people in the province of Québec remember Champlain today.

But that’s not all Champlain did: for over 30 years, he helped expand New France. Just imagine: Champlain crossed the Atlantic 20 or so times between 1603, the year of his first voyage, and 1635, the year of his death!

Geographer and cartographer

During his early voyages in New France, Champlain explored the territory. Since he was a geographer, he drew several maps to further people’s knowledge of the country. He also identified new territories on his maps. For example, in 1612, he described and drew the Ottawa River for the first time.

Good relations with the Hurons

Champlain always tried to establish good relations with certain Indigenous nations, especially the Huron (Wendat). He even spent an entire winter with them in 1615. The stories he left behind are very valuable because they tell us about the Indigenous way of life.

The importance of colonizing New France

Champlain also believed that New France needed more settlers. He felt this would improve trade between France and its colony. Most people did not agree with him, however. He had to work very hard to convince them.

 

Author: Service national du Récit de l’univers social

French (If available)