Extract I From Frenchmen to Fortress: The Champlain Legacy, 5th Edition by Abner Barrett, Professor of South American History, Roanoke University © 1986-2008 Custom House Publishing Preface As a humble student of history, it is my privelidge to try to gain a unique insight into the minds of others, and ever since I began my journey into the past as a young boy, the minds that have always interested me to the greatest degree have been those of the men and women who shaped the great American continents to their will, from the lowest criminal in the penal colonies to the richest of landowners. Yet no story has ever captivated me so much as that of the road to independence taken by New France, and the family that lead it down that road, the De Champlains. Extract II From Chapter I - The First Expeditions Though three of the four ultimately successful expeditions set off in 1492, this can only be attributed to remarkable resolve on the part of the European powers, and even De Champlain himself, for prior to this successful voyage no less than seven expeditions had been sent out by each power, with De Champlain leading five of the French expeditions, each one ending in a logistical nightmare that resulted in the total abandonment of the new world colonies. Mysteriously, many of the colonists who returned from those initial seven voyages had been apparently stricken by madness, as the stories they told of the Americas bore almost no resemblance to previous or successive expeditions. Were we to believe the stories these colonists told, the native tribes were instantaneously rearranging themselves each time the colonies collapsed, and the land itself morphed into new shapes several times over. However, it remains a mystery to this day how one expedition to South America was able to so vividly and accurately describe the culture of the Incas, a native empire believed at the time to be the product of insane minds, but finally discovered in 1550 on the cold northwestern shores of Alaska. Extract III From Chapter II - The Champlain Expedition The founding of Cheyenne in 1500 marked the end of the first period of Expansion by the colonists of New France, and bridged the inland gap between the initial colonies of Quebec and Montreal. Though the process of clearing the thick forest around the colony was slow going, the farms built in their place ultimately proved to be the engine of growth for the fledging colonies. The establishment of this major centre of population growth, however, was particularly significant because of its confluence with another event, the coming of age of De Champlain's son. In a move to shore up relations with the concerned natives, De Champlain sent his son to Tenochtitlan to foster with Montezuma, the ruler of the Aztec Empire. Though this caused quite the scandal in the courts of Europe, De Champlain's own popularity and the strengthened relations with the Aztecs turned this into quite the fashion amongst the colonists of New France, and ultimately into a sort of rite of passage into adulthood amongst the colonists of Cheyenne. Extract IV From Chapter V - The Second Expansion The result of the completion of the second wave of expansion was an almost immediate change in the economy of New France. While prior to the founding of Guadeloupe and St. Louis the French Colonies' economy had been one based around sugar exports and small-scale spirit production, the decision by Charles De Champlain to spend huge amounts of the previous decades' profits on incentives to immigrate meant that production in the new colonies surpassed the long established original settlements within a few short years. Almost overnight, New France's primary export changed from Sugar to Cigars, and the trickle of goods coming into France from the colonies became a veritable flood of tobacco products, as the Colonies' trading vessels struggled to export the goods as fast as they were being produced. Ultimately, though the population and production of the old colonies would remain respectable until the present day, Guadeloupe would go on to become the largest city in the Americas at the time of independence, and one of the largest cities in the world today. Extract V From Chapter VIII - Across the Andes, Into the Amazon It is speculated that is was around this time that the De Champlains began planning to lead New France to independence, as it was around this time, in the early 17th century, that the industries that would fuel independence were set up. Louis De Champlain commissioned the Amazon Mining Company in 1622 to establish small mining colonies in the ore-rich jungles to the north of New France. The Company's initial mining settlement, Martinique, would go on to become one of the most famous tourist destinations in the Americas for other reasons, and shared its name with the future capital of the Transplatinian province. The three mining colonies that were ultimately set up were used to fuel a boom in the now economically depressed port town of Montreal, which had not seen a ship visit its harbor in almost twenty years. The ship which arrived soon after the establishment of those amazonian settlements brought on it hundreds of blacksmiths and armourers, ready to turn Montreal from a fading sugar colony into an industrial heartland. Louis also brought into existence the last of New France's major colonies, Deux Fort. Though to all appearances it was a cotton planting and silvermining colony, rumors abounded that it was filled to the brim with trained marksmen and gunsmiths so obsessed with their work that they would spend their waking hours hitting the same guns over and over again with the wrenches they used to make them. No historian has ever been able to determine exactly where this rumor originated from, as it bears no resemblance to the actual Deux Fort. Interestingly, this rumor has become something of a modern El Dorado, as the legend as commonly told today goes that the real Deux Fort was named after a lost city, where the ghosts of the marksmen and gunsmiths live out and fight their endless, repetitive war until this very day. Extract VI From Chapter X - Phillipe De Champlain's Dream It is unmistakeable to the modern historian that by this point in time preperations for independence were being made in earnest, if in secret. The settlement of Martinique, deep in the jungle, was renamed by Phillipe as Fort Champlain, supposedly in honor of his Anscestor who led the first colonists, but suspected by many of his contemporaries to be named after himself. There, deep in the jungle of the Amazon, Phillipe began a massive construction project, building a fortress the like of which had never been seen in the western hemisphere. Ultimately, the entire arms industry of Montreal would be relocated to this fortress just prior to the Quebecois Revolutionary War, with the intention that should the rest of New France fall, this fortress would remain the untakeable last redoubt of the De Champlain dynasty. So large was this jungle city that huge cargoes of food had to be imported weekly to feed the colonists in what one English Scout described to Governor Adams as a "Fortress of Doom, the like of which might survive even the ravages of the Devil himself". Extract VII From Chapter XIII - The Republic of Quebec There are many sources available from just before war to show how unusual the composition of the New French forces were. Other than a single dragoon guarding Fort Champlain, New France had no standing army whatsoever. What it did have, however, was a huge number of cannons, three full regiments' worth of artillery per city, though not a single one quartered in Quebec, Montreal, or Guadeloupe, the coastal cities of New France. However, regardless of the military situation, agitation for independence was astounding in the last few years prior to the war. This was cited by many at the time to be result of taxes by the French King becoming outrageously high, reaching a full 50% of all sales in Europe and driving many merchants out of business, but in retrospect it seems clear that this was but a pretence upon which the De Champlain dynasty could place the final crowning stone of their generations-long scheme. When the Declaration of Independence finally came, the French King might be forgiven for expecting an easy victory, so paltry and spread out were the Quebecois forces. Yet in the time it took for the Royal Expeditionary Force's initial convoy to reach New France's shores, the final stroke of the De Champlain plan had been put into action. The warehouses of each of the ten colonies had been filled to the brim with muskets, and their stables packed with horses, such that within a few days of independence, each colony was able to field a full six regiments of dragoons, outnumbering the entire Royal force, and positively dwarfing the paltry landing that the King's Army made in Guadeloupe. For the rest of the war, the same basic tactics were seen: The Quebecois soldiers would surrender the coastal settlements without a fight, and proceed to envelop any Royal troops that made their way inland. Extract VIII Epilogue In perhaps what was a great irony, the plan was so successful that some parts of it are seen today as a huge waste. Fort Champlain today lies a ruin, having never seen a single soldier march upon it, and from the ninety cannon regiments defending the inland settlements, not a single shot was fired, most being eventually melted down into farm tools. Still, it is a testament to the great and interesting minds of the De Champlain family how successful their centuries long endeavour was, and the fortunes they brought to the shores of South America. Though they no longer rule with the power they once did, the De Champlains remain an important and influential political family in the Republic of Quebec to this very day.