Canada: The Story of Us·Video

Samuel de Champlain builds the first permanent European settlement in Canada

Habitation features a wrap-around palisade, a watch tower, a moat 4.5 metres wide and a line of cannons.

Samuel de Champlain's Settlement

6 years ago
Duration 0:38
Samuel de Champlain's impressive settlement was the first permanent European settlement built in Canada.

July 1608: Samuel de Champlain arrives near what is now Quebec City. He has been entrusted by the King of France to create a permanent trade settlement and a new nation: New France. 

Champlain and his crew build a fortress city in Innu territory. Habitation is a formidable structure, featuring a wrap-around palisade, a watch tower, a moat 4.5 metres wide and a line of cannons. 

Earlier French attempts to establish colonies in North America had been unsuccessful: Fort Caroline, in Florida (1564); Sable Island, off Nova Scotia (1598); Tadoussac, in Quebec (1600); Île Sainte-Croix, in Maine (1604); and Port-Royal, in Nova Scotia (1605).

These settlements came up many time in Canada: The Story of Us producers' research and in numerous conversations with their noted historians. 

While some historians have referred to Port-Royal as a permanent settlement, the producers and historians of this series chose to define permanence as demonstrated by Quebec City's continuous population year-round and their ability to endure the harsh winters from 1608 onward, while the previous attempt at Port-Royal was cut short in 1607. We hope this provides additional insight into the editorial decision made by the producers of the series to present Quebec City as the first 'permanent' European settlement.


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