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By the late Renaissance, Europeans had a solid understanding of the physical and human geography of Europe and the Mediterranean Basin, but they had only a sketchy sense of Asia and Africa. Christopher Columbus's four voyages of exploration in 1492, 1493, 1498, and 1502 significantly altered their worldview. The subsequent voyages of Jacques Cartier and Giuseppe Verrazano established a general outline of coastal North America; however, the maps and journal entries of Samuel de Champlain show for the first time the Northeastern reaches of North America. Later French explorers would travel by canoe into the deepest expanse of the continent. Champlain's maps were based on his own explorations, observations, mathematical calculations, and interviews with Native American Indians.


  • Who were the European explorers who claimed and settled northeastern North America?
  • How did the knowledge acquired by Samuel de Champlain and other French explorers change European knowledge about the world?
  • What role did the fur trade play in the history of North America?
  • What role did European technology play in the exploration and settlement of North America?
  • What was Samuel de Champlain's most important accomplishment?

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