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Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix (29 October 1682 - 1 February 1761) was a Frenchmarker Jesuit traveller and historian distinguished as the first historian of New France.

He was born at St Quentin in the province of Picardy. He was desended from a line of lesser nobliity.His father held the post of deputy attorney general, and ancestors had served in positions in great trust and responsibility. At the age of sixteen he entered the Society of Jesus; and at the age of twenty-three was sent to Canadamarker, where he remained for four years as professor at Quebecmarker. He then returned and became professor of belles lettres at home, and travelled on the errands of his society in various countries.

In 1720-1722, under orders from the regent, he visited America for the second time, and went along the Great Lakesmarker and down the Mississippi River. Later into the West Indies. In later years (1733-1755) he was one of the directors of the Journal de Trewux. He died at La Flechemarker in February 1761.

His works, enumerated in the Bibliographie des Peres de la Compagnie de Jesus (by Carlos Sommervogel), fall into two groups.

The first contains
  • Histoire de l'établissement, du progrès et de la décadence du Christianisme dans I'empire des japons (Rouen, 1715; English trans. History of the Church of Japan, 1715)
  • Histoire et description générale du Japon (1736), a compilation chiefly from Engelbert Kaempfer.

The second group includes his historical work on America:
  • Histoire de I'Isle Espagnole ou de Saint-Domingue (1730), based on manuscript memoirs of P. Jean-Baptiste Le Pers and original sources
  • Histoire de Paraguay (1756)
  • Vie de la Mère Marie de I'Incarnation, institutrice et première supérieure des Ursulines de la Nouvelle-France (1724)
  • Histoire et description générale de la Nouvelle-France (1744; in English 1769; tr. J. G. Shea, 1866-1872), a work of capital importance for Canadian history.


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