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New France, the territories civilized by French voyagers Jacques Cartier and Samuel de Champlain

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The Foundations of New France

In New France’s history we have many important figures that helped to bring New France to reality such as Jacques Cartier who came first and Samuel de Champlain who came later. However we only recognize one as the Father of New France which is the successful Champlain, not Cartier. Champlain unlike Cartier is known as the Father of New France because he succeeded in creating a lasting French presence in Canada unlike Cartier. So why did Champlain succeed and not Cartier?

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First, Jacques Cartier left France with the goal of finding gold, diamonds, riches and a passage to China in present day Canada. Seems like a solid goal; find riches and a passage to China however it was not! This is because Cartier sought these things based on rumours of other explorers such as Cortes who found gold also Cartier had no idea where to search for these things because there was no maps or information on the newly discovered Canada. Cartier failed in this aspect because he was looking for something that didn’t exist and he did not even know where to look. Champlain on the other hand had a clear, solid goal and information on the geography of Canada. Champlain’s goal was to find fertile land, and create a settlement while getting beaver pelts. He accomplishes his goal unlike Cartier because he knows what he is looking for exists (he knew where fertile land was), also he knew what challenges to expect (the freezing winters and hostile Iroquois) so he came prepared. The first reason why Champlain succeeded was because he knew what search for something that exist, was prepared for hardships, and a better sense of the area around him.

Another reason why Champlain succeeded over Cartier was because of the business model at the time of Champlain was better than Cartier’s. Cartier’s business model at the time was that he needed funding from the king so Cartier to receive money for his expeditions he need to bring back or tell the king something whether it was true or not. In this model the king takes all the risk and is not guarunteed anything back. So in this model there is much to lose for both parties, the king his money if nothing is found and the explorer’s funding to be cut off because Cartier found nothing valuable. Champlain’s model on the other hand is where the king gives out a grant for an explorer to business so the risk is only taken by the business. Champlain succeeded because of this model because first there was accountability so every business member would make sure everyone is working and not wasting money which provides increased productivity. Also in Champlain’s model the business operated on it’s own meaning it did not have to report back to the king (except for paying taxes) so the business had more freedom to strive and seek out ways to make money.This allowed Champlain to further seek out beaver pelts for profit and thus creating a colony that would act as a place to ship out fur.

The third reason why Champlain succeeded over Cartier was his allies. Champlain knew that Native allies were the key to prospering in Canada for the Natives had knowledge on the land, location of furs and how to survive in the winter. Cartier also had Native allies but unlike Champlain, Cartier did nothing to gain the loyalty of his Native allies. Cartier took his Iroquois allies for granted and when the Iroquois had enough, Cartier created an enemy for himself. Champlain on the other hand strived to create a long lasting loyal alliance with the Huron. And Champlain did this by helping to destroy their enemy the Iroquois. Due to this Champlain created an alliance between the French and Huron creating safety for his colonies and colonists and opening a huge trading network which brought in lots of furs thus increasing the French wealth.

The final reason was the furs. The beaver furs were hugely sought by nobles in Europe therefore creating a market for furs. Champlain by creating a colony thus created a base where the French could trade also Champlain noticed that the beavers created a reason for the French to be in Canada: furs.

In the end we know Champlain as the Father of New France because he knew where and what he was looking for so he had a clear and practical goal because he knew what he was looking for existed. Second his business model was superior to Cartier’s, his allowed more opportunities, third he created lasting alliances with the Huron and lastly created a reason to stay in Canada, the furs to make money which lead to the fur trade. This is why Champlain while Cartier did not succeed.

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