Land of the Brave

Jean Ribault Facts

Jean Ribault Explorer

Jean Ribault Explorer

Facts about Jean Ribault

The following Fact File contains fast information about the life of Jean Ribault. Interesting facts and an overview and description of the life and times and his involvement in the Exploration and the discovery of the New World leading to the colonization of America. Refer to the French in America for more info.

Fact 1: Why was Jean Ribault famous and what part of America did he explore?  Jean Ribault explored the Carolina coasts and became a colonizer of what would become Florida in the southeastern United States. The conflict between Jean Ribault and the Spanish was known as the Florida Massacre.

Fact 2: When was Jean Ribault born? He was born c.1520

Fact 3: What was his country of origin and where was Jean Ribault born? He was born in Dieppe in France

Fact 4: Dieppe was an extremely important Renaissance port in which the greatest French seamen, navigators and map makers (cartographers) were based. Dieppe was the home to other famous explorers such as Giovanni da Verrazzano, Samuel de Champlain and Jacques Cartier

Fact 5: Jean Ribault was raised in the bustling port and joined the French navy under the command of the great Huguenot admiral Gaspard de Coligny. Jean Ribault was also a Huguenot.

Fact 6: There were violent conflicts about religion in the 1500's, the majority clung to the old Catholic faith. The Huguenots were French Protestants, and hated by the Catholics.

Fact 7: Gaspard de Coligny secretly worked on protecting his fellow Huguenots by attempting to establish colonies in the New World in which Huguenots could find a refuge

Fact 8: Admiral Gaspard de Coligny chose Jean Ribault to lead an expedition to the New World to found a colony.

Fact 9: February 18, 1562: Jean Ribault left Le Havre in France the leader of 2 ships carrying 150 Huguenot soldiers bound for the New World and Florida

Fact 10: May 1, 1562: Jean Ribault enters the St. Johns River near modern Jacksonville, Florida and erects a stone column claiming the territory for France

Fact 11: The French expedition sail to the north until they arrive at Port Royal Sound in present-day South Carolina

Fact 12: Jean Ribault establishes a small settlement on Parris Island, one of the Islands off the South Carolina coast

Fact 13: They build a small fort at the settlement on Parris Island. The outpost is called Charlesfort in honor of the French King Charles IX.

Fact 14: June 11, 1562: Jean Ribault leaves 27 men at Charlesfort, gentlemen, soldiers, and mariners, and returns to France for supplies and settlers for the colony. Charlesfort is later abandoned and the men return to France.

Fact 15: Jean Ribault returns to find the French Wars of Religion had broken out between the Roman Catholic majority and the Protestant Huguenots. He helps the Huguenots in Dieppe but is forced to flee to England

Fact 16: Jean Ribault is accused of being a spy and is imprisoned in the Tower of London, where he writes about his experiences in the New World. He is released and returns to France.

Fact 17: Meanwhile Gaspard de Coligny appoints Ribault's former lieutenant, Rene Goulaine de Laudonniere, to replace Ribault in the North American colonies

Fact 18: April 22, 1564: Rene Goulaine de Laudonniere sets sail and arrives in Florida 2 months later

Fact 19: Jean Ribault returns to France from England and is tasked with following him in Spring 1565 with reinforcements and fresh supplies. He is delayed and does not leave France until the summer

Fact 20: Rene Goulaine de Laudonniere establishes a new colony called Fort Caroline on the banks of the St. Johns River in what is now Jacksonville, Florida. Supplies run short and the settlement is under attack by Native Indians. Many of the men mutiny and Rene Goulaine de Laudonniere decides to return to France.

Fact 21: August 28, 1565: Jean Ribault with a fleet of 7 ships, fresh supplies and 1000 Huguenot colonists arrive at Fort Caroline. Jean Ribault takes over from Rene Goulaine de Laudonniere as Governor.

Fact 22: The presence of the French in Florida is noted by the Spanish who believe that they have exclusive claim to Florida. Spain sends Pedro Menéndez de Avilés with an armada with orders to “take the Florida coast.”

Fact 23: In early September 1565 Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, with a fleet of 5 ships and 800 men, land to the south of Fort Caroline and the Spaniards establish the Spanish settlement of St. Augustine

Fact 24: On September 10 1565 Jean Ribault took his fleet south to pursue Menéndez de Avilés

Fact 25: Menéndez de Avilés discovers the plan and sends troops overland to attack the lightly defended Fort Caroline - 140 men were killed and only women and children were spared. Rene Goulaine de Laudonniere and 40 others escape and return to France

Fact 26: The fleet of Jean Ribault is caught in a terrible hurricane - survivors make it ashore to Daytona Beach. They are tracked down by the Spanish and Ribault, believing his men would be fed and treated decently, surrendered.

Fact 27: Under the explicit orders of King Philip II of Spain, the prisoners were asked if they were professing Catholics. Those who were Huguenots were killed.

Fact 28: A similar surrender and mass execution by the Spanish of a smaller group of French Huguenots followed a few days later.

Fact 29: Jean Ribault and about 350 men were murdered in this dishonorable fashion. The killings are referred to as the Florida Massacre.

Fact 30: Following the Florida Massacre the French concentrated in building new colonies in the Northern lands of the New World

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