Samuel de Champlain

Samuel_de_Champlain (1567-1635) French explorer of Lake Champlain

Who was this man for whom Lake Champlain is named?

Samuel de Champlain was an explorer, geographer and colonizer. He was born in 1567 in Brouage, a village on the Bay of Biscay. As a captain of a Spanish sailing ship, serving under Don Francisco Colombo, he visited the Spanish West Indies and Mexico. Between 1601 and 1603 he wrote his first book, the ‘Bref Discours’.


Samuel de Champlain : “Father of New France”

Statue of Samuel de Champlain, Isle La Motte, Vermont

Champlain made his first voyage to the St. Lawrence River in 1603 and was active in attempting to establish the French colony in Acadia. During this time he also explored the seacoast from Cape Breton to Martha’s Vineyard.

In 1609 Champlain discovered the lake that bears his name today. It was here that he fought his first battle with the Iroquois.

Champlain explored the Ottawa River to above Lac Coulange in 1613, and in 1615 he reached Georgian Bay. From 1617 through 1629 he worked to strengthen the colony of Quebec and promote trade on the lower Saint Lawrence River.

After the surrender of Quebec in 1629 he was taken captive and imprisoned in London, but he returned to New France in 1633 and remained there until his death on Christmas Day 1635.