Samuel de Champlain is a famous explorer, cartographer, soldier, navigator, draughtsman, ethnologist, diplomat, geographer and chronicler. Champlain was born to Antoine Champlain and Marguerite Le Roy in the port city of La Rochelle, Aunis, France.
Born into a family of mariners, Champlain learned to navigate and draw nautical charts at a very young age. He served as an army of King Henry IV during the France's religious wars in Brittany. He started serving as a quartermaster who is responsible for feeding and caring of war horses. It is claimed that during this time, he went on a secret voyages for the king and saw combats at the end of 1594. He was then promoted as capitaine d'une compagnie where he served in a garrison near Quimper.
His early travels started when his uncle in law was chattered to transport Spanish troops to Cadiz. Champlain accompanied his uncle and spent some time in Cadiz before his uncle was again chartered to accompany a large Spanish fleet to West Indies. This journey lasted for two years and Champlain got the opportunity to write an illustrated report of this trip which later on he handed to King Henry.
He soon started exploring North America in 1603 under the guidance of François Gravé Du Pont. He mapped Acadia for three years. He also discovered the lake which was named after him, the Lake Champlain located on the border of Northern New York and Vermont. Champlain is an important figure in establishing French colonies in the New World.
Champlain sailed with Francois Grave Du Pont's expedition in 1603. They explored the St. Lawrence River and through the Saguenay river. They also sailed the Gaspe Peninsula. In 1603, he returned to France and decided to look for a new passage and to settle in Gaspe Peninsula.
In 1604, he returned to Canada on Pierre de Mont's expedition. For three years, they sailed around and charted the coast of Nova Scotia and the coast to Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard which is now Massachusetts. After staying in France for a short time, he returned to Canada and in 1605, they found a colony in Port Royal, Nova Scotia.
Champlain was the very first European explorer to explore and describe the Great Lakes. He also published maps of his journeys as well as the lessons he had learned from the natives.
Champlain led 32 colonists in 1608 to settle Quebec. But only nine colonists survived the first winter but more settlers have arrived the following summer.