The Lake Champlain Basin Program will be hosting John Krueger, City Historian of Plattsburgh and executive director of the Kent-Delord House, for a presentation titled The Lake as Battleground: 1609-1815 on Thursday, March 1st at 6:30 p.m. in the LCBP office in Grand Isle, Vermont. This program is part of the LCBP’s Love the Lake speaker series.
John Krueger began promoting Lake Champlain’s history as a guide at Fort Ticonderoga in 1970. His talk will focus on Lake Champlain as a corridor for warfare, beginning with Samuel de Champlain’s exploration and the conflict of European powers for control of the corridor.
Rogers Island Visitors Center in Fort Edward is hosting dinner with Samuel de Champlain on October 24th at the Tee Bird North Golf Club (30 Reservoir Road, Fort Edward). Local Chefs, Neal Orsini owner of the Anvil Restaurant in Fort Edward and Steve Collyer, researched the stores list aboard Champlain’s ship, the Saint-Julien, to develop a dinner menu using European, 17th century ship and New World ingredients. Some menu items were standard fare aboard 17th century ships, but the Saint-Julien was 500 tons, carried more than 100 crew and had a galley which meant that even livestock was brought on board aboard, if only for the captain and officers.
Don Thompson, who has spent this Quadricentennial year traveling throughout New York, Vermont and Canada portraying Samuel de Champlain, will serve as a special guest presenter bringing the story of de Champlain’s North American explorations to life.
There will be a cash bar at 5 pm; and dinner served at 6 pm. The price is $22 for Rogers Island VC members, $25 for non-members and $8 for children under 12. Special prize baskets have been donated for a raffle.
For reservations call Rogers Island Visitor Center at 518-747-3693 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Proceeds benefit the Rogers Island Visitor Center.
David Hackett Fischer‘s new biography of Samuel de Champlain is out. He will be at the New York State Writers Institute on Thursday to discuss the work, and there’s a review in the Albany Times Union by Paul Grondahl:
Published this month to capitalize on planned 2009 quadricentennial celebrations of Hudson and Champlain, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian has written a comprehensive, magisterial biography, Champlain’s Dream. It is intended to resurrect the extraordinary accomplishments of a protean figure largely overlooked in today’s history courses…
That dream of creating a French colony in North America began circa 1570 on the Atlantic coast of France, where Champlain grew up tolerant of religious differences in an era of brutal sectarian warfare. It is unclear whether Champlain was baptized Catholic or Protestant and much of his lineage remains murky. Fischer does not entirely discount historians who have suggested that he was an illegitimate son of the illustrious French king Henri IV — who gave financial support to Champlain’s explorations, granted him special access and provided a pension for him.
“The hard evidence to support such an idea is zero,” [Fischer] said.
Regardless of his paternity, Champlain went to sea as a youth and acquired exceptional sailing and navigation skills. In his jam-packed career, he was a soldier, spy, explorer, cartographer, author, artist and, above all, a conciliator among warring Indian tribes in the New World.
Unlike other agents of imperialism, Champlain did not go in search of gold or conquest, but rather to spread the culture of France, to discover new places and to bring together diverse people in a spirit of harmony.
His travels are prodigious. He made at least 27 Atlantic crossings between 1599 and 1635 without losing a ship; traversed six Canadian provinces and five American states by land and water; created maps more detailed and accurate than his contemporaries; wrote in-depth accounts of his trips that fill six large volumes. Oddly, he never learned to swim.
It is as the father of New France that Champlain deserves the most recognition, according to Fischer. As the founder and leader of the first permanent French settlements in North America, he went so far as to subsidize new families with his own money.
Although Champlain had some stains on his character, including shabby treatment of his French servants and an inability to absorb criticism, by the time of his death in 1635 he had succeeded in permanently planting French culture in the New World.
As part of the quadricentennial of Samuel de Champlain’s exploration of Lake Champlain, Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont is hosting an international academic symposium on July 2-5, 2009. Scholars from the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences are invited to participate.
The theme, “When the French Were Here,” invites the broadest possible consideration of Samuel de Champlain’s achievements, his life, and of his world as a cultural, social and ideological context. Continue reading