Search for "New France"
Médard Chouart des Groseilliers
Médard Chouart Des Groseilliers, explorer, fur trader (bap at Charly-sur-Marne, France 31 July 1618; d at New France 1696?). A man of courage who valued personal freedom and initiative, Des Groseilliers opened Lakes Michigan and Superior to the fur trade and Jesuit missionaries.
Samuel de Champlain
Samuel de Champlain, cartographer, explorer, colonial administrator, author (born circa 1567 in Brouage, France; died 25 December 1635 in Quebec City). Known as the “Father of New France,” Samuel de Champlain played a major role in establishing New France from 1603 to 1635. He is also credited with founding Quebec City in 1608. He explored the Atlantic coastline (in Acadia), the Canadian interior and the Great Lakes region. He also helped found French colonies in Acadia and at Trois-Rivières, and he established friendly relations and alliances with many First Nations, including the Montagnais, the Huron, the Odawa and the Nipissing. For many years, he was the chief person responsible for administrating the colony of New France. Champlain published four books as well as several maps of North America. His works are the only written account of New France at the beginning of the 17th century.
Jacques Cartier, navigator (born between 7 June and 23 December 1491 in Saint-Malo, France; died 1 September 1557 in Saint-Malo, France). From 1534 to 1542, Cartier led three maritime expeditions to the interior of the Gulf of the St. Lawrence River. During these expeditions, he explored, but more importantly accurately mapped for the first time the interior of the river, from the Gulf to Montreal (see also History of Cartography in Canada). For this navigational prowess, Cartier is still considered by many as the founder of “Canada.” At the time, however, this term described only the region immediately surrounding Quebec. Cartier’s upstream navigation of the St. Lawrence River in the 16th century ultimately led to France occupying this part of North America.
François Dollier de Casson
François Dollier de Casson, explorer, superior of the Sulpicians in New France (1670-74, 1678-1701), seigneur of Montréal, vicar general, historian (b in the château of Casson-sur-l'Erdre in Lower Brittany 1636; d at Montréal 27 Sept 1701).
Louis-Joseph Gaultier de La Vérendrye
Louis-Joseph Gaultier de La Vérendrye, explorer, cartographer, fur trader, military officer (born 9 November 1717 at Île aux Vaches, Quebec (New France); died at sea off the coast of Cape Breton 15 November 1761). Known by his title Chevalier, the youngest son of Pierre Gaultier de Varennes et de la Vérendrye led the first European exploration across the Missouri River into the Great Plains. He served New France in the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years' War.
Sir David Kirke
Sir David Kirke, trader and privateer, first governor of Newfoundland (born at Dieppe, France c1597; died near London, England 1654). Kirke, with Sir William Alexander, Earl of Stirling, formed the Company of Adventurers, which was granted patents by King Charles I. It gave them the right to trade and settle in Canada. Kirke was the owner of the first recorded Black chattel-slave in New France, Olivier Le Jeune.
Étienne Brûlé: A Wealthy Parisian Trader?
Étienne Brûlé is no longer the mysterious character who has inspired many different representations, ranging from traitor to hero.
Antoine Laumet, dit de Lamothe Cadillac
Antoine Laumet, known as “de Lamothe Cadillac,” explorer, seigneur in Acadia, commandant of Fort Michilimackinac, founder of Detroit and of the first colony in Ontario, governor of Louisiana (born 5 March 1658 at Saint-Nicolas-de-la-Grave, France; died 16 October 1730 at Castelsarrasin, France).
Daniel Greysolon Dulhut
Daniel Greysolon Dulhut, coureur de bois, fur trader, explorer (b at St-Germain-Laval, France c 1639; d at Montréal 25 Feb 1710). Dulhut helped extend the French trading empire around the Upper Great Lakes.
René-Robert Cavelier de La Salle
René-Robert Cavelier de La Salle, would-be Jesuit, fur trader, explorer, intriguer, discoverer of the Mississippi delta (b at Rouen, France 21 Nov 1643; assassinated 19 Mar 1687 in Texas).
Charles Albanel, Jesuit priest, missionary and explorer (b in Auvergne, France c 1616; d at Sault Ste Marie 11 Jan 1696).
Étienne Brûlé, explorer, interpreter (b probably at Champigny-sur-Marne, France c 1592; d in Huronia c June 1633). Brûlé was the first Frenchman to live among the Indigenous people.
Cavelier de La Salle: French Explorer
On March 19, 1687, somewhere in the trackless wilderness of southern Texas, the French explorer Cavalier de La Salle approached the camp of a party he had sent ahead to find food. La Salle sensed that something was wrong and shouted "Where is my nephew?" "Gone to the dogs," was the reply.
Robert Chevalier Beauchêne
Robert Chevalier Beauchêne, dit, adventurer, privateer (b at Pointe-aux-Trembles [Montréal] 23 Apr 1686; d at Tours, France Dec 1731). As a young man, Beauchêne served as a VOYAGEUR and on raiding expeditions against the English colonies. In 1707 he joined an Acadian privateer.
Giovanni da Verrazzano
Giovanni da Verrazzano, explorer (born in or near Florence circa 1485; died in the West Indies circa 1528). Verrazzano explored North America’s eastern coastline on behalf of France, while searching for a westward route to China. His explorations demonstrated to Europeans that the coast from Florida to Cape Breton was continuous. He also provided Europeans with the first ethnographic account of Indigenous people north of Mexico.
Louis Jolliet, explorer, cartographer, king’s hydrographer, fur trader, seigneur, organist, teacher (baptized 21 September 1645 in Québec City; died between 4 May and 18 Oct 1700 likely near Île d'Anticosti).
Henri de Tonty
Henri de Tonty, explorer, voyageur (b 1649 or 1650; d at Ft Louis-de-la-Louisiane Sept 1704). He was the son of Lorenzo de Tonty, inventor of the "tontine" system of life annuity.
Sir Martin Frobisher
Sir Martin Frobisher, mariner, privateer, explorer (born ca. 1535 near Wakefield, England; died 22 November 1594 in Plymouth, England).
William Eppes (Epps) Cormack, merchant, explorer, naturalist (b at St John's 5 May 1796; d at New Westminster, BC 30 Apr 1868).