Champlain sets sail from France

On today’s date in 1603, French explorer Samuel de Champlain set sail on his first voyage to Canada.

In 2014, the Royal Canadian Mint featured de Champlain on the third coin of its Great Explorers series. The pure gold Proof coin with a face value of $200 features de Champlain alongside a First Nations guide as they disembark from canoes on the Ontario shoreline. The coin was designed by Glen Green and has a limited mintage of 2,000.

Born into a family of French mariners in 1574, de Champlain began exploring North America in 1603 and eventually climbed to the top of society on this side of the pond. He went to New France in 1620 and spent the rest of his life improving the territory rather than exploring it.

Champlain died on Christmas Day 1635 in Quebec City.

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