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“On Friday, the thirteenth day of August, fifteen hundred and seventy-four, Samuel, son of Antoine Chapeleau and of m [word crossed out] Marguerite Le Roy, was baptized. Girault.” In 1602 or thereabouts, Henry IV of France appointed Champlain as hydrographer royal.

Certainly the document is difficult to read; the letters often have to be deciphered as much from their context, as from their appearance.

He visited Porto Rico (now Puerto Rico,) Mexico, Colombia, the Bermudas and Panama. He was an indefatigable explorer – and an assistant to other explorers – in the quest for an overland route across America to the Pacific, and onwards to the riches of the Orient.

[“Concerning the Primitives: Or Travels of Samuel Champlain of Brouages, Made in New France in the Year 1603”], Samuel de Champlain indicated that he was a native of Brouage in the Saintonge region of France.

A standard spelling had possibly not yet been adopted.

What are the chances of finding another baptismal certificate dating from this era where the names are identical to those we find in other historical documents? However, even though the family names of Chapeleau and Champlain are similar, this small difference — understandable as it may be — cautions us not to jump to conclusions.

Thus Champlain sailed from Honfleur on the fifteenth of March, 1603, and prepared to follow the route that Jacques Cartier had opened up in 1535.

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