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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Hackett Fischer discusses book Champlain’s Dream

Published: September 26, 2008
Section: News

Samuel De Champlain may have been the illegitimate son of King Henry IV, Prof. David Hackett Fischer (HIST) announced yesterday at a reception for the release of his new book, Champlain’s Dream.

Many historians have always thought that Champlain, the French explorer who founded Quebec, was not the son of the parents who raised him, and it has always been assumed that Champlain was the illegitimate son of an unknown French noblemen.

Fischer, however, said that both Champlain’s close relationship with the King and the King’s travel history in the nine months prior to Champlain’s birth lead him to believe that Henry IV was in fact the father.

“He was at the right place at the right time, so to speak,” he said. “It could have happened. Granted that there is exactly zero hard evidence to support that theory, but [if Henry IV were his father] it would explain many anomalies in their relationship. It’s only a possibility, but it’s very clear that the two of them had a very special relationship.”

As far as Fischer knows, he is the first historian to publish the theory. His book, which details Champlain’s life and focuses on his quest to explore America and establish a French colony in Canada, will be released on Oct. 14. Fischer’s other works include Washington’s Crossing, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize, and Paul Revere’s Ride.