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French colonists in the New World didn’t just carry muskets—they wore gardening gloves

Some colonies are named after the place their homesick settlers came from. Other names, like Georgia or Jamestown, were a gesture to butter up whoever funded the voyage. Only some places actually share vegetation or terrain with the homeland after which they were named, and no amount of reframing will change that.

But as Northeastern history professor Chris Parsons details in his new book A Not-So-New World: Empire and Environment in French Colonial North America, when Samuel de Champlain arrived in Canada from France, that didn’t stop him from trying.

Upon arriving in Québec, Canada, in 1608, Champlain identified what appeared to be wild versions of what he and his fellow Frenchmen grew back home. Champlain assumed the role of cultivator, attempting to formally domesticate these wild indigenous plants. He also planted seeds that had made the voyage with him.

Read the full story on News@Northeastern.

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