10 Interesting Facts About Jean Ribault You Probably Didn’t Know

10 Interesting Facts About Jean Ribault You Probably Didn’t Know

Anyone who has studied the amazing life of Jean Ribault will most likely have many questions, including “when was Jean Ribault born?” This key historical figure played a major role in the history of French colonization in the New World. His life encompasses several critical events that shaped both early North American and European history.

Let’s look at ten of the most interesting facts about Jean Ribault and his life that you probably did not know.

1. When Was Jean Ribault Born?

Based on historical records, we know the answer to the question “when was Jean Ribault born?” Jean Ribault was born in Dieppe in modern-day France in 1520 (formerly known as the Kingdom of France). This was a very exciting era of overseas exploration and colonization in the Americas. At the time, France was also embroiled in conflicts between Catholics and Huguenot Protestants driven by the Protestant Reformation which had begun in Germany. Some know this period as the French Wars of Religion. Being born into a world that was being radically impacted by Protestant Reformation, significantly shaped the life that Jean Ribault led.

2. Jean Ribault Was A “Huguenot”. But What Exactly Is a Huguenot?

Huguenots were a devout group of Christians known as French Protestants. They were persecuted by the Catholic Church, which was powerful in France. One of the most extreme examples of this persecution was the violent St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre in 1572, which occurred during Ribault’s lifetime. This event led to the murder of numerous Huguenots, and, by the end of the century, there were far fewer Huguenots in France itself due to the French Wars of Religion.

3. What Happened In Jean Ribault’s Early Life?

Fortunately, we know more than the answer to the question of “when was Jean Ribault born.” When it comes to his early life, Ribault was originally a sailor with the French Navy. He was led by the Huguenot Admiral Gaspard de Coligny. It was Coligny who chose Ribault to lead a colonization mission to the New World in 1562.

4. Why Did He Come & What Colonies Did Jean Ribault Influence In The New World?

Jean Ribault came to the New World searching for locations to establish Huguenot colonies. These colonies were intended to be a refuge where Huguenots could live and escape the brutal persecution being experienced in France.  He was involved in the formation and direction of two primary colonies in the Americas. These were Fort Caroline and Charlesfort. These two colonies were located in what is now known as Florida and South Carolina. They were originally located in close proximity to Spanish settlements in the New World.

5. What Happened When Jean Ribault Returned To Europe?

Jean Ribault returned to France after his first voyage to the New World. When he returned, he realized that the persecution of the Huguenots was getting much worse. In fact, he fled to England to escape the violence. In England, Ribault was captured and jailed under suspicion of being a spy; however, after he was released from the infamous Tower of London, he was once more enlisted by Admiral Coligny to take part in yet another voyage to the New World.

6. What Problems Arose For Jean Ribault Upon His Return?

For a very short time, Jean Ribault assumed command of Fort Caroline and continued to settle the area with the 800 colonists who had come with him on his second voyage. However, the Spanish had also begun to build up their position in Florida. This presented a serious threat to the French Huguenots. Under the command of Pedro Menendez, Spanish ships engaged in several skirmishes with French ships. Two empires were colliding in the New World and it would not end well for Jean Ribault and the French.

7. What Was Jean Ribault’s Flagship?

La Trinité was the flagship that Ribault had taken to the New World on his expeditions. It was ultimately shipwrecked in a storm. The wreck was recently found in 2018 near modern-day Cape Canaveral in Florida. It is marked as one of North America’s most significant maritime discoveries. You can Google “Discovery of La Trinité” in Florida” for more exciting updates!

8. How Did Jean Ribault Die?

Jean Ribault was murdered under orders from Pedro Menendez de Aviles. Menendez had been ordered by the Spanish king to destroy the French colony of Fort Caroline. Ribault’s fleet of ships that were to attack the Spanish was delayed in a hurricane-force storm. Ribault’s flagship, La Trinite, sank in the tempest yet many of his crew, along with Jean Ribault, survived and made it to shore. Ribault was captured by the Spanish and executed. Jean Ribault was born in 1520 and died in 1565.

9. Was Jean Ribault Avenged?

After Ribault died, he was later avenged by the pirate Dominique de Gourgues. This involved an attack on Fort Caroline, which had been taken over by the Spanish.

10. Why Does The Name “Jean Ribault” Sound Familiar?

Jean Ribault has left behind an extensive legacy, especially in the greater Jacksonville, Florida area. Many schools, streets, and buildings in Florida and South Carolina are named after him. Some of these include Jean Ribault Middle and High Schools and the Ribault River. As a central figure in the history of French colonization in the New World, Jean Ribault is a name that all students of history need to know.

Learning More About Jean Ribault

By studying these facts, you should now able to answer any questions you are asked about this dynamic figure, from “when was Jean Ribault born?” to his voyage to the new world and all the way through to the end of his life. Learn more about Ribault and open a whole new world where you will discover the fascinating details of the early French colonization of the Americas.