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Early in life he entered the army and became quartermaster of cavalry. His uncle, acting as pilot-general of the Spanish fleets, conducted back to their own country the Spanish soldiers who had served in France, and was accompanied by his nephew, who took command of the "St. Julien." In January, 1599, he sailed in command of this vessel for the West Indies, and during two years and a half visited many of the islands, landed at Vera Cruz, proceeded inland as far as the city of Mexico, and returned by way of Panama, where he conceived the plan of a ship-canal across the isthmus, reaching Spain in March, 1601.

On his return to France he received a pension from Henry IV., and, upon being urged by commander De Chaste, governor of Dieppe, to explore territory granted to him in North America by the king, with a view to founding a colony, he sailed, on 15 March, 1603, in the ship of Pontgrave. On 24 May they anchored at Tadoussac, where the Saguenay joins the St. Lawrence; and soon afterward he, Pontgrave, and a few men, proceeded up the river in a boat, until stopped by the rapids of St. Louis above Montreal, which was the limit of Cartier's discoveries in 1535.

He returned to France in 1607, and, having suggested to De Monts the importance of establishing a trading-post on the St. Lawrence, he and Pontgrave were sent out in 1608, and, after reaching Tadoussac, they continued up the St. Lawrence to a place called by the Algonquins Quebec, or the Narrows. Champlain decided upon forming a settlement here, but had scarcely begun to clear the ground for the erection of buildings when a plot to assassinate him was discovered. At Quebec he erected houses, sowed grain, and did all he could to develop the fur trade, and in a short time the settlement began to grow. Having become friendly with the Montagnais, an Indian tribe on the St. Lawrence, in 1609 he joined them in an expedition against the Iroquois. While in pursuance of this project, they were met by a party of Algonquins and Hurons, and, accompanied by them, ascended Sorel River until they arrived at the Chambly rapids. Having at this point sent back his boat and crew, Champlain proceeded in a canoe, and entering a lake, gave it his own name.

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Q: What was Samuel de Champlain's early life like?
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