Samuel Champlain, Explorer, geographer and founder of New France, also known (in sources closer to the French) as Samuel de Champlain. He was born around 1670 in Brouage, in the province of Saintonge, France.

His father was a sea captain, and Champlain had an early fascination with the sea. He sailed to the Antilles in 1600, and was appointed hydrographer to Henry IV of France in 1602. He sailed in 1603 to Tadoussac as part of a trading expedition. On this visit he explored the Saguenay but was halted from explorations further west by the Lachine rapids. He learned of large inland lakes further upriver.

From 1604 to 1607 while settlers build Port Royal in Acadia, Champlain explored up and down the east coast of North America, charting the coastline in search of good harbours. He probably went as far south as Cape Cod.

In 1608 he returned to his goal of finding a route to Asia, thinking that the St. Lawrence river could be a gateway through the continent. He founded Quebec City (then known as Stadacona) on July 3, 1608 and built his residence (in French, the ``habitation'') there. He explored southwards following the Iroquois River (now the Richelieu River) to the lake which now bears his name in 1609.

In 1611 he travelled again to Hochelaga, and made his way past the rapids there, opening up exploration of the St. Lawrence River. In 1612 he explored the Ottawa River. These explorations into what is now Ontario helped him to Lake Huron in 1615.

This was his last great exploration. He returned to Quebec, helping it grow until 1629, when it was taken by the English Kirke brothers. He left for France, lobbying for support for the colony he'd helped found.In 1632 a diplomatic agreement between England and France returned the North American colony to France. In 1633 he returned to Quebec. He fell ill in October 1635 and died there on Christmas Day of that year. At his death, the settlement at Quebec had a population of 150 French men and women.

Sources: Virtual Museum of New-France, Canadian Museum of Civilization.

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