Champlain Map: “They Would Not Take Me There”


Award-winning EXPLANATORY MAP produced by the Canadian-American Center, illustrates the travels of Samuel de Champlain as he explored what is now Canada, seeking a route between the St. Lawrence River and James Bay.

Authors/Cartographers: Michael James Hermann & Margaret Wickens Pearce
Translator: Raymond Pelletier


This map, produced by the Canadian-American Center, illustrates the travels of Samuel de Champlain as he explored Canada between 1603 and 1616. During those thirteen years, Champlain made seven trips into the interior, forging trade alliances with multiple First Nations, accompanying them in their wars against the Iroquois, building Québec, and collecting geographic information for his maps and journals. These travels were dependent on the knowledge, skills, and technologies of the Algonquin, Wendat, Wabanaki, and Innu which formed the basis for his published journals, Les Savauges and Les Voyages.

Although Champlain’s attention encompassed a range of economic, religious, and colonial interests, his written accounts suggest a personal passion for finding the connection between the St. Lawrence River and what is now James Bay. Drawing on Biggar’s edition of Champlain’s journals (The Works of Samuel de Champlain, H.P. Biggar, ed. 1922-36), Trigger’s ethnohistorical Huron study, (The Children of Aataentsic: A History of the Huron People to 1660, Bruce G. Trigger, 1987), and numerous linguistic and geographical references, this cartographic work weaves together Native and non-Native experiences, negotiations, and strategies in the years before the creation of Québec City and New France.

We invite you to travel through the map by following the blue ribbons of his routes, upriver and over land. Along those routes, stories are told through a combination of Champlain’s voice from his journals, Native voices in an imagined dialogue, and the cartographers’ voice. Contemporary, French, and Native place names from the Cayuga, Montagnais, Algonquin, Western Abenaki, Mi’kmaq, and Wendat named places are also included. Five sequential cartographic insets tell stories with greater depth for Tadoussac, Quebec City, Montreal, Morrison Island, and the Pentaguishene Peninsula.

The Cartographers’ Voices :

At one level, Champlain’s explorations have been extensively documented and mapped by scholars focusing on the locations and dates of Champlain’s arrivals and departures. But these maps are silent with regard to the Indigenous geographies through which Champlain moved and upon which he relied for the success of his own explorations and mappings. Also, they fail to convey the human experiences which shape the emotional geographies of his journals.”
MWPearce and MJHermann

English on one side:
They Would Not Take Me There; People, Places and Stories from Champlain’s Travels in Canada, 1603-1616

Français de l’autre côté:
Les hommes, les lieux, et les histoires retrouvées des Voyages de Samuel de Champlain au Canada, 1603-1616

Flat: 39 x 59 inches
Folded: 8 x 10 inches
Available rolled or folded

ISBN 978-0615-23159-4

The University of Maine
Canadian–American Center
Orono, Maine, USA

Price (US):
Retail: $14.99
Educational use: $10.00
Plus postage