Science Art: Esbene, by Samuel de Champlain, c. 1602

Esbene, Samuel de Champlain, c.1602

Image from the John Carter Brown Library, Brown University, who found it in Brief discours des choses plus remarquables que Samuel Champlain de Brouage á reconneues aux Indes occidentales, the record of Samuel de Champlain’s trip to the Caribbean with a Spanish crew.

Apparently, no one’s really sure what this tree actually is, so the image’s scientific value is limited. But it certainly gives a sense of the strange, new place Champlain was seeing. Sometime shortly after he painted this tree, he settled in Port Royal, Nova Scotia, then went north to found Quebec City and “New France” while exploring the Great Lakes.

The king was apparently more interested in the colonies he established than the records of his explorations and made him go back and take care of the administration of the country he’d inadvertently helped set up. It’s a living, eh?