navigation bar Houghton Mifflin Social Studies Communities
Biographies Unit Biographies

Samuel de Champlain 1567(?)–1635
French Explorer and Settler

The maps that Samuel de Champlain (sham PLANE) created made it possible for others to follow him. He was a French explorer who traveled in New France, which is present-day Canada.

Champlain first arrived in New France in 1603 as a French soldier. The French settlements were trading furs with many American Indian groups in the region. Champlain explored great distances to help the traders find a water route across the continent. He traveled with the help of two groups, the Montagnais (mawn tan YAY) and Huron Indians, who knew the land and waterways.

Champlain made maps of Hudson Bay and the Great Lakes. He also mapped the Atlantic coast as far south as Cape Cod. In 1608 Champlain started the settlement that is now Quebec City. This was the first permanent French colony in North America. For all that he did to explore and settle New France, Champlain became known as “the founder of Canada.”

Comprehension Check

Why did Samuel de Champlain explore Canada?

Critical Thinking

Why do you think a water route across the continent of North America would be helpful to fur traders?