Champlain Samuel de (1567–1635), a French explorer and “Father of New France” (Canada). He was born into a seafaring family in a little French town on the Bay of Biscay. In 1598–1601 he commanded a Spanish ship to the West Indies, Mexico, and Central America. Henry IV of France sent him to explore the St. Lawrence River in 1603. In 1604 he accompanied the Sieur de Monts and Jean de Biencourt de Poutrincourt on a colonizing expedition to Acadia. They first settled near the St. Croix River, but the following year they moved the colony across the Bay of Fundy and established Port Royal. It was later temporarily abandoned. In 1608 Champlain founded Quebec, the first permanent French settlement in the New World.

Many of Champlain's explorations were connected with military expeditions in company with the Hurons against the Iroquois Indians. In 1609 Champlain discovered the lake that was later named for him, and by 1615 he had reached the north end of Lake Huron.

As lieutenant governor of New France, Champlain was forced to surrender Quebec to the English in 1629 and was imprisoned in England. On his release in 1633, he returned as governor of New France.