Lake Champlain and Lake George

Lake Champlain and Lake George

Lake Champlain and Lake George

Lake Champlain and Lake George

Excerpt

King Francis I established a French paper claim to most of North America by sending the Italian navigator, Giovanni Verrazano on a voyage of exploration of the American coast line in 1524. For the St. Lawrence Gulf and Valley the paper claim became a reality three-quarters of a century later when Champlain in 1608 founded the city of Quebec. Eagerness to explore his realm led him in 1609 to accompany an Indian war party upon a raid against their ancient enemies, the Iroquois. The route taken led up the St. Lawrence to the mouth of the Richelieu and then southward up the Richelieu. So the party came in time to the lake of which Champlain became the white discoverer, and which has ever since borne his name. Advancing still southward up the lake, the party came to the vicinity of Ticonderoga where an army of Iroquois warriors was encountered and easily defeated; after which the raiders hastily retired and Champlain returned to Quebec.

So Lake Champlain became a roadway of war to its first European discoverer, as it had doubtless been to the natives of America for uncounted generations of time. To Champlain at this juncture two fascinating geographical opportunities were presented. He might prosecute the westward quest for the Indies by pushing up the St. Lawrence or the Ottawa to the Great Lakes, or he might continue the southward thrust, begun in 1609, toward the Hudson and its outlet in New York Harbor. Force of circumstances dictated the pursuit of the first alternative; within half a dozen years Champlain himself visited Huron and Ontario, and before his death in 1635 Superior and Michigan had been discovered and the westward trend of New France over the interior of the Continent had been determined. Champlain never returned to the lovely lake he had first discovered; and the exploration and settlement of the Hudson Valley were left to the subjects of other nations.

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