McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
Champlain, French Wars of Religion, Huguenot Abjuration, Military Experience, Patronage, Youth
Nearly all studies of Samuel de Champlain focus on his trials in New France due to the substantial number of available sources. His early life remains understudied because there are no such sources regarding these years. This essay attempts to alleviate that disparity by utilizing primary materials not typically associated with Champlain. Using late sixteenth-century France to contextualize Champlain's youth, this essay surveys three critical areas of his early life: military experiences, ties of patronage, and religious convictions. Military experience, gained during the Wars of Religion, prepared Champlain for violent encounters with Native Americans. Ties of patronage, which he began building during the wars, secured future support for his North American endeavor. Finally, his religious convictions elucidate the social atmosphere in France during the Wars of Religion. Placing Champlain within this atmosphere further defines his early life. When combined, these three areas present a reasonable picture of the young Champlain.
Goff, B. (2014). Samuel de Champlain and the French Wars of Religion (Master's thesis, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/589