Item 6360 - Samuel de Champlain, ca. 1600

Item 6360 - Samuel de Champlain, ca. 1600
Contributed by Maine Historical Society
Item 6360
Samuel de Champlain, ca. 1600
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Samuel de Champlain (circa 1570-1635), was a French explorer and cartographer who began surveying what is today Maine and the Canadian Maritimes in 1603. Called the “Father of New France,” Champlain was part of the first permanent European settlement at St. Croix Island in 1604, and established Port Royal in 1605 and Quebec in 1608.

While living in the Port Royal colony in 1605-1606, Champlain explored the Maine and Massachusetts coastlines, resulting in some of the first accurate maps of New England based on first-hand surveys.

Champlain detailed capes, bays, islands, shoals, and rivers along the coast along with heights of land useful for navigation, and Indigenous settlements. Wabanaki guides helped Champlain explore parts of the coast, and provided information about the interior, where he traveled up the Penobscot River to present day Bangor in search of the mythical city of gold, Norumbega.

Only one self portrait of Champlain exists—a small drawing of a man wearing armor and shooting. All other likenesses like this half-tone photo-etched illustration from the book Pine Tree Coast by Samuel Adams Drake, published in Boston by Estes & Laurent in 1891 (p. 357) imagine what he looked like.

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