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Samuel de Champlain
Transcript of Samuel de Champlain
Champlain's Travels from 1604-1608
The land is very stony, and covered with copse and heath. There are a great many rabbits, and a quantity of game in consequence of the ponds there
."- Voyages of Samuel de Champlain
Present Day Cape Cod
Present Day Martha's Vineyard
"It is this art (navigation) that drew me to love the sea at a very young age and that compelled me to challenge its treacherous waters all of my life and that made me navigate and follow the coast of parts of America . . ."
Little is known of his childhood.
Champlain was born in Brouange, France in 1567
Historians speculate his father was either a poor fisherman or a naval officer.
In 2012, historians found Champlain's Baptismal Certificate, which confirmed he was baptized on August 13, 1574, and as a Protestant. This provided lots pf clarification to his fairly mysterious childhood.
Champlain's First Venture In America
1598: Champlain reports his travels to the West Indies and Central America with a Spanish expedition.
This caught the attention of the French King, Henri IV.
1603: Champlain sails for France to the St. Lawrence River
"There are numerous good harbors and good anchorages, and only a single town, named Hispaniola [Santo Domingo], inhabited by Spaniards; the rest of the population are Indians, a good-natured people, and very friendly to the French nation, with whom they traffic as often as they can, but this is without the knowledge of the Spaniards."
, (1598-1601), Champlain describes
Spanish colonization. It's important to note the early
establishment of "friendly" relations to Native Americans based on trade.
One of Champlain's detailed maps of Hispaniola. He was a well-noted cartographer.
New France's Beginnings
1603: Champlain made his first trip to North America (St. Lawrence River) to establish a French colony.
1604: He returned to northeastern Canada, and became the first to map the North Atlantic Coast (traveling into present day New Eastern America)
During these explorations, Champlain adopted some of the Native American ways, and often times used a Native American interpreter as a guide.
1607: English explorers came to Maine.
Though they didn't stay, the French felt more pressure to colonize the region.
1608: Champlain explores the St. Lawrence River and finds a site to plant the colony of Quebec.
He also travels down the Richelieu River to Lake Champlain and explores northern New York, the Ottawa River, and the eastern Great Lakes.
Champlain and the Native Americans
While visiting the Huron and Algonquin nations in 1615, they asked Champlain to assist them in their campaign against the Onondaga and Oneida nations, who posed a threat to fur trade routes along the upper St. Lawrence and Ottawa rivers.
Champlain preparing for battle alongside the Huron and Algonquians.
While asleep I dreamed that I saw in the lake near a mountain our enemies, the Iroquois, drowning before our eyes. I wanted to succour them, but our Indian allies said to me that we should let them all perish; for they were bad men. When I awoke [Huron and Algonquian] did not fail to ask me as usual whether I had dreamed anything. I told them what I had seen in my dream. This gave them such confidence that they no longer had any doubt as to the good fortune awaiting them.
-Samuel de Champlain's account of the preparation for battle
Champlain and his allies actually lost against the Iroquois, and Champlain was seriously injured.
1. Since his beginnings in Hispaniola, he saw the value in trading with the natives.
Though they lost, this 1615 account exemplifies the complex relationship Champlain had with Native Americans.
Analyzing Champlain's interactions with the Native Americans, it's clear that he saw them as comrades, esp the Huron and Algonquian, to some extent.
2. Some aspects of Native American culture actually awed Champlain.
Champlain's Voyages From 1608-1611
EX 1: Their birch-bark canoes impressed Champlain. He said, “ so light that a man can carry one of them easily.”
In 1608 Champlain led 32 colonists to settle Quebec along the St. Lawrence River for the purpose of establishing it as a fur-trading post-- the first permanent settlement in New France.
EX 2: Champlain does not how the Natives are able to remember their route, “...giving me a savage as a companion, who knew how to find again the place from which he started so well that it was something very remarkable."
However, only nine settlers (including himself) survived the bitter winter that followed.
Even when referring to his allies, Champlain typically uses the term "savage" to describe all Native Americans.
When native offered Champlain ten kettles of meat Champlain was appalled. He said, “They feed very filthily, and when their hands are greasy they rub them on their hair, or else on the hair of the dogs.”
The next summer, however, more settlers arrived and Quebec began to flourish as a fur-trading post.
The Iroquois fought the French throughout the establishment of Quebec, and the area became very unsafe for the French as well as their Huron allies. Knowing little about muskets and firearms, the Iroquois were easily defeated by the French.
During the raid, Champlain became the first European to reach Lake Champlain, which he named after himself.
Though Champlain formed a strong alliance with some of the Native American tribes, he still saw them, as a whole, as inferior to Europeans.
The Native Americans made it clear that there were definite tensions between the French and the Natives. For example, the Natives bluntly told Champlain that if he had actually gotten lost, they wouldn’t of reported that to the French in fear the French would blame them.
Samuel de Champlain's Later Life
After being injured in the 1615 attack on the Iroquois, Champlain spent the winter of 1615 with the Huron tribe. He stayed mostly with Chief Atironta, and used the time to travel extensively throughout Huronia. While there, he wrote a detailed account of Native American life.
One of Champlain's writings was about him straying from the Hurons during a hunting trip. Following strange game, presumably pheasants, Champlain ends up lost. For two nights, Champlain wanders around the forest finding lots of streams and trees, which further disorients him. By following a stream, he finds a lake, and is able to see smoke billowing from a Huron village.
Champlain befriended the Algonquin and Huron Indians living near the colony, and believed this friendship could prevent native attacks on the area in addition to increasing the fur trade.
In 1609, Champlain joined the Algonquin and Huron Native Americans in a raid on the Iroquois.
Champlain's siding with the Hurons and intervention into local politics was ultimately responsible for the warlike relations that would match Iroquois against the French for generations to come.
However, he won the lasting friendship of the Algonquin and Huron Indians.
In 1611, Champlain returned to the area around the Hochelaga islands. He built the Place Royale facing an ideal harbor and later successfully explored beyond the Lachine Rapids. He became the first European to begin exploring the St. Lawrence River and its tributaries from the coast to the interior of the continent.
Quebec City 1688
Place-Royale and the bust of Louis XIV are visible in the center.
The environment Champlain described was filled with animals, especially birds, that made for easy game; without tools, Champlain was able to catch three or four birds. He also notes the plush forest with large trees. The land also appears to have lots of freshwater (streams, lake, and brooks), which is good for Champlain, considering he doesn't even have a compass.
The weather, however, did not seem as pleasant.
"Unfortunately for me that had been no sunshine for three days, nothing but rain and cloudy weather..."
In 1609, Champlain allied with the Northern Indian Tribes and defeated the Iroquois, who lived in what is now New York, near Lake Champlain. Firearms and other European weapons gave Champlain and his allies a huge advantage over the Iroquois.
Another victory in 1610 created a stronger alliance among the French their native allies, allowing the fur trade to gain momentum.
This narrative is told through a typical European mindset. Champlain wanders off in the first place, because he sees a strange bird, and he cannot find the village faster, because he's not used to the land.
Even though it is he who is lost, Champlain acts as though he is the superior; he calls the "savages" and doesn't think much of it when they assign a "savage companion" for future ventures.
Champlain also believes that he'll be okay in the woods, because he has God.
"When I had made my repast I began to consider what I should do, and to pray God to give me the will and courage to sustain patiently my misfortune if I should be obliged to remain abandoned in this forest..."
French attack on the Iroquois.
Also that year, the fur trade suffered heavy financial loses and Quebec’s sponsors abandoned the colony. Eventually Champlain persuaded Louis XIII to intervene, who made Champlain the commandant of New France.
After returning to Quebec, Champlain leaves for France due to lawsuits and political upheaval at the French court. In 1620, Champlain is titled lieutenant of New France, but King Louis XIII insists he focus on the administration of running a colony.
Because of the tensions between the British isles and France, the English attacked Quebec trying to gain its valuable fur trade. On July 19, 1629, Champlain surrenders, and returns to France. In 1632, England gives Quebec back to the French.
THE BEAVER AND FUR TRADE
In 1633, Champlain makes his last voyage to New France. Although he is named Lieutenant General of New France, both Native Americans and colonists treat him as Governor. He reconstructs and builds more to New France.
In 1635, Champlain suffered a severe stroke in October, and died on Christmas Day. He is buried in Quebec.
Nicknamed the "Father of New France," Champlain was one of the few who understood the potential of America, beyond materialistic riches. He was integral in beginning the strong relationship with Native Americans. Champlain also explored and mapped many regions of North America, which helped colonists to come.
Champlain's map of the Gulf of the St. Lawrence.
An early sketch of Quebec, the first settlement of New France.
Native Americans coming to greet Champlain and French colonists.
A statue of Samuel de Champlain in Ottawa, Canada.
Although the beaver has often been overlooked, it was this rodent in particular which became an integral part of Europe's economic and geographic expansion into the northern reaches of the New World of the seventeenth century.
Europeans were interested in two main parts of the beaver:
The fur, particularly the soft underbelly fur, was transformed into felt, which was in high demand for wide-brimmed felt hats and winter coats.
In addition to pelts, beavers also produced a by-product, castoreum, which was used in perfumes and for attracting more beavers.
In 1603, Champlain met a group of indians as he made his way to Gaspe from Tadoussac. The Native Americans were going to barter arrows and moose flesh for the beaver and marten of several other tribes. Champlain began trading the natives goods to encourage them to hunt more beaver when he realized the great wealth that could come from the trade.
Over the next few years, French colonial policy pivoted around the beaver trade and only granted trade charters to those agents who would promise to bring settlers to New France and to explore and claim new territory in return for a monopoly on the beaver trade over that area.
Over time, the number of trading bodies grew and diversified, and a fierce competition developed between the French and English companies to lay claim to regions further and further westward.
The French fur and beaver trade was an extensive trade network centered along the St. Lawrence waterways. Although Native Americans were payed for the beaver, they were short changed. The high demand for fur in Europe allowed them to charge far higher prices than what they gave the natives.
MLA Cited Online Resources
Danforth, Susan. "Champlain's America." Champlain's America. John Carter Brown Library, Sept. 2008. Web. 10 Sept. 2015. <http://www.brown.edu/Facilities/John_Carter_Brown_Library/exhibitions/champlain/pages/champlain.html>.
Heidenreich, Conrad E. "The Mapping of Samuel De Champlain,1603-1635." Sate Contexts of Renaissance Mapping 51 (1976): n. pag. Web. 4 Sept. 2015. <.http://www.press.uchicago.edu/books/HOC/HOC_V3_Pt2/HOC_VOLUME3_Part2_chapter51.pdf>.
"The Iroquois Were Much Astonished That Two Men Should Have Been Killed so Quickly": Samuel De Champlain Introduces Firearms to Native Warfare, 1609." "The Iroquois Were Much Astonished That Two Men Should Have Been Killed so Quickly": Samuel De Champlain Introduces Firearms to Native Warfare, 1609. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 2015. <http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/6594>.
MLA Cited Visual Aids
Laliberte, Alfred. Bust of Samuel de Champlain. 1930,The Senate of Canada/Celebrates the Foundational Role of Samuel de Champlain, Port Royal, http://sen.parl.gc.ca/nkinsella/pdf/reports/champlain-e.pdf 9/15/15
Reid, George. Arrival of Samuel de Champlain in Quebec City. 1608. Library and Archives Canada/The Ages of Exploration, New Port. The Mariner’s Museum. http://exploration.marinersmuseum.org/subject/samuel-de-champlain/ 9/15/15
Champlain, Samuel. Carte Geographique de la Novvelle Franse.1612.II. Samuel de Champlain and New France,Portland.Osher Map Library. http://www.oshermaps.org/exhibitions/creation-of-new-england/ii-samuel-de-champlain-and-new-france .9/15/15
MLA Cited Printed Works:
Champlain, Samuel De. Samuel De Champlain before 1604 Des Sauvages and Other Documents Related to the Period. Toronto: Champlain Society ;, 2010. Print.
Champlain, Samuel De, and W. L. Grant. Voyages of Samuel De Champlain, 1604-1618;. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1907. Print.