NEW ENGLANDERS GROW up imbibing certain creation myths, most of which relate to how unbelievably historic we are. It all started here, and entire businesses — the vending of tricorne hats, for example — depend on the tight control of information relating to the beginnings of America — the Revolution, and the Salem witch trials before that, and at the dawn of time, the Pilgrims, hacking their way into the forest primeval. Everything trails in their wake; or so we like to believe.
But is it possible that New England trails in someone else’s wake? As in, the dreaded French? These disorienting thoughts will become harder to push away in 2008, as Quebec celebrates the 400th anniversary of its founding by Samuel de Champlain — the explorer who found not only New France, but much of New England as well. Indeed, if a few things had turned out differently, we might all be bundled up in scarves and hats bearing the fleur-de-lys insignia of the New France Patriots.
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