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Samuel de Champlain

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Short Biography of the life of Samuel de Champlain - French Explorer and Navigator

The following biography information provides basic facts about the life Samuel de Champlain:

  • Nationality - French
  • Lifespan - 1567 - 1635
  • Family - Son of Antoine Champlain, a sea captain, and Marguerite Le Roy

  • Education - Well educated
  • Career - French Explorer, Cartographer and Navigator
  • Famous as : The Founder of Quebec City. Known as 'The Father of Canada'

Facts, Timeline & History about the life of Samuel de Champlain - French Explorer and Navigator
The following are additional facts and a timeline about the life and history of Samuel de Champlain:

  • 1567: Samuel de Champlain was born at Brouage, Saintonge in France
  • Samuel de Champlain was the son of Antoine Champlain, a sea captain. His uncle was also a mariner
  • His mother was Marguerite Le Roy
  • The early life of Samuel de Champlain concentrated on preparing him for the life of a mariner
  • Samuel de Champlain accompanied his father and his uncle on various sea voyages
  • He was well educated and would have studied cartography, navigation, astronomy and mathematics in his early life
  • 1587: Samuel de Champlain joined the French army and became the quartermaster of cavalry. His commanding officer was Marechal d'Aumont
  • 1598: Samuel de Champlain joined his uncle who was Pilot-General for the Spanish fleet transporting Spanish soldiers from France to Spain. France and Spain were Catholic allies against the Protestant countries of the Netherlands and England
  • 1598: When he was in Seville, in Spain, Samuel de Champlain was offered the command of the 'St. Julien' as part of the Spanish fleet in the New World opposing the English privateers in the Caribbean
  • 1599 January: Samuel de Champlain set sail on the 'St. Julien' for the Caribbean
  • 1599 - 1602: Samuel de Champlain made various voyages visiting Vera Cruz, Mexico, Columbia and Panama
  • 1602 March: Samuel de Champlain returned to Spain and reported on his voyages. He suggested that a passage between the Atlantic and the Pacific could be explored through the Isthmus of Panama
  • 1602: Samuel de Champlain returned home to France and was rewarded by Henry IV, the King of France, with a pension and appointed Geographer to the King
  • 1602: Samuel de Champlain made his home in Dieppe where he met Aymar de Chaste the Governor of Dieppe
  • 1602: Aymar de Chaste had obtained a monopoly of the fur trade and set up a trading post at the port of Tadoussac in Quebec ('New France'). De Chaste offered Samuel de Champlain the opportunity to join an exploration and colonise his lands in Quebec
  • 1603 March 15: The leader of the overall expedition was a merchant named Pontgrave. Samuel de Champlain set sail for Quebec from Honfleur, France - there were two ships on the voyage
  • The expedition followed in the path of Jacques Cartier to the St Lawrence River and Tadoussac
  • Samuel de Champlain anchored at Port Royal (Annapolis) where they set up a new colony. A fort was erected defended by canon and muskets
  • 1603 June 5: Pontgrave's ships arrived at Port Royal with supplies and provisions for the colonists. Champlain preferred Quebec as the site of the new colony
  • 1603: Samuel de Champlain was now free to start his explorations and search for a passage to the Indies. He needed the support of the local Indians (the Algonquins and Hurons)  and agreed to help them fight the Iroquois tribe
  • The expedition led by Samuel de Champlain consisted of twenty-four canoes, sixty warriors and only three white men
  • They discovered a great fresh water lake and named it Lake Champlain. After fighting with the Iroquois the expedition returned to Quebec and the colony of Quebec started to grow
  • 1603: Samuel de Champlain continued his explorations with Pont-Gravé ( Francis Gravé, Sieur du Pont Pontgravé c1554-c1629) a merchant and fur trader, to explore the St. Lawrence. 
  • 1603 August : Samuel de Champlain sailed home to France
  • 1604: Samuel de Champlain returned to Canada and joined the expedition led by the fur trader Pierre Du Gua de Monts (1558-1628) to Acadia. Samuel de Champlain acted as historian and cartographer for de Monts
  • Pierre Du Gua de Monts supported Samuel de Champlain on all of his future explorations over the next few years
  • 1607 September: Samuel de Champlain and his fellow colonists in Acadia returned to France due to lack of support from their backers
  • 1608: Samuel de Champlain returned to Quebec
  • 1608 July 3: Samuel de Champlain laid the foundation of the Abitation de Quebec
  • 1608: Samuel de Champlain joined the Hurons in an expedition against the Iroquois, who they defeated
  • 1608 July: Samuel de Champlain founded Quebec City which slowly began to grow. Jesuit priests were sent from France and built a church, convent, school and hospital and Samuel de Champlain built his mansion there
  • 1610: Samuel de Champlain returned to France where he met Helene Boullé through her brother who had been at Port Royal. The father of Helene was Nicolas Boullé who was the Lord Chamberlain of France
  • 1610 December 29: 40 year old Samuel de Champlain married 12 year old Helene Boullé at Saint-Germain-L'Auxerrois in Paris. Despite her young age the marriage was quite legal although her parents demanded a lapse of two years before cohabitation
  • Samuel de Champlain returned to Quebec and Helene stayed in Paris
  • 1611: Champlain continued his exploration of the St. Lawrence
  • Samuel de Champlain named the island, opposite Montreal, Sainte-Helene in honour of his wife
  • 1612 - 1613: Samuel de Champlain visited France and returned to Sainte-Helene from where he went on another exploration to the region above Sault Saint Louis
  • 1615: Samuel de Champlain made his last voyage of exploration to Lake Huron in Ontario
  • Samuel de Champlain travelled back and forth to France encouraging settlers to move to Quebec
  • 1620: Helene visited Quebec
  • 1628: War broke out between England and France
  • Samuel de Champlain surrendered Quebec to the English and returned to France
  • 1630: A peace treaty was signed between England and France and Quebec was returned to France
  • 1633: Samuel de Champlain returned to Quebec and resumed his duties as governor
  • 1635 December 25: Samuel de Champlain died in Quebec

Facts about the 1599 Samuel de Champlain Ship - the St. Julien
The names of the 1599 Samuel de Champlain Ship was the St. Julien. The brave men of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries who sailed in uncharted waters to unknown lands were courageous adventurers who were motivated by fame, glory and the wealth. The living conditions on board the ships were fairly basic and the voyages were dangerous.

  • Various aids to navigation were available on ships during the Renaissance. The Navigational aids that Samuel de Champlain would have used on his ships included:
    • Astrolabes
    • Charts
    • Compasses
    • Cross-staffs
    • Nocturnals
    • Traverse boards
    • Almanacs
    • Telescope
  • All of the navigational aids used by Samuel de Champlain on the St. Julien were used to measure the angle between objects above the ocean, such as the stars or the sun, with the horizon. This would have enabled Samuel de Champlain to calculate the ship's position at sea
  • Conditions on the Samuel de Champlain ship would have been basic. Food provisions would have included bread, beer, fish and salted meat. The Captain would have had some private stores which might include wine and fresh livestock
  • The St. Julien was a large French ship of 500 tons
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