Samuel de Champlain

Founder of French Canada, explorer, cartographer, illustrator, soldier, administrator and writer, Samuel de Champlain (c. 1567 - 1635) played a large role in Maine's history. He described the origins of Acadia (the French province in Maine and the Maritimes) in his famous and often reprinted Voyages (1632). On his third voyage to North America, Champlain was one of the leaders of the St. Croix settlement (Dochet Island) between the present day Maine and New Brunswick. While involved in that effort, he led the exploration of the coast from the Bay of Fundy to Cape Cod, made charts, drew images and commented on the land and native peoples. He named Mount Desert Island (Isle des Monts Deserts) for its deserted-looking mountaintops, and traveled up the Penobscot, Kennebec, Androscoggin, and Saco Rivers, charting the lands and waters he came across. One of his most famous images depicts the large Indian settlement at the mouth of the Saco River, and it was Champlain who first attempted to name the various Maine tribes and the extent of their territory. His work was published during and after his lifetime and represents our first written understanding of our region.

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