Jean Ribault

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Jean-Ribault-History-of-Jacksonville-Florida FAITH, WAR & EMPIRE HE came in search of freedom what he found... would change florida forever FAITH, WAR & EMPIRE HE came in search of freedom what he found... would change florida forever Jean-Ribault-History-of-Jacksonville-Florida the true story of the french huguenot in florida DISCOVER MORE [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][/vc_section][vc_row box_padding=”no-padding” el_class=”mobile-slider” css=”.vc_custom_1591621914417{padding-top: 90px !important;}”][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Jean-Ribault-History-of-Jacksonville-Florida FAITH, WAR & EMPIRE
HE came in search of freedom
what he found...would change florida forever
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Who was Jean Ribault? Jacksonville Florida Jean-Ribault-History-of-Jacksonville-Florida [/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1589413868018{padding-top: 15px !important;}”]

French Explorer (Protestant)[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”5868″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” css_animation=”none” css=”.vc_custom_1589502088741{padding-top: 20px !important;}”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1591212487447{padding-top: 60px !important;}”]Jean Ribault’s mission in the New World was driven by his quest for religious freedom, not slaves and gold.

“I came to the New World in search of a refuge for Huguenot Christian’s to escape persecution in France.”
-Jean Ribault

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column text_align=”text-center” offset=”vc_col-md-4″][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner offset=”vc_hidden-lg vc_hidden-md”][vc_empty_space height=”30px”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text el_class=”welcome-text”]The legendary Jean Ribault (left) was a French Huguenot naval officer and a colonizer of the southeastern United States. He was a major figure in the French attempts to colonize Florida and create a religious refuge from the Catholic persecution of Protestant Christian’s (known as Huguenots) in France.  During his expeditions to the New World in 1562-1565, he collided with the Spanish (Pedro Menendez) who were also active in colonizing La Florida.

Captain Pedro Menendez de Aviles (right) was a Spanish explorer sent by the Catholic king, Philip II of Spain to remove the French Protestant’s from Florida. He set up camp in what is today the city of St. Augustine.  Menendez is remembered for personally approving the murder of an estimated 350 French Huguenot’s (including Jean Ribault) after they refused to renounce their Christian faith.

This mass murder is remembered as the Matanza’s Massacre.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column offset=”vc_col-md-4″][vc_column_text]

CAPTAIN PEDRO MENENDEZ Spanish Explorer PEDRO MENEDEZ DE AVILES SPANISH EXPLORER [/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1589757098872{padding-top: 15px !important;}”]

Spanish Explorer (Catholic)[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”5869″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” css_animation=”none” css=”.vc_custom_1589502101856{padding-top: 20px !important;}”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1591212558823{padding-top: 70px !important;}”]Pedro Menendez’s mission in the New World was driven by gold, slaves and empire.

“I came to the New World for the glory of Spain, gold, slaves and to expand the power of the Catholic Church.”
-Pedro Menendez

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Who was Jean Ribault? Jacksonville Florida La Trinite Flagship of Jean Ribault French Flag of Jean Ribault Jacksonville Florida Learn about the recent discovery of Ribault's lost fleet and the La Trinte Slide Jean-Ribault-History-of-Jacksonville-Florida Slide Jean-Ribault-and-Timucua-King-Saturiwa meeting in Florida 1562 Slide Admiral Gaspard de Coligny Leader of Huguenots - Murdered by Catholics 1572 Slide St. Augustine and Fort Caroline - Jean Ribault and Pedro Menendez Slide La Trinité Flagship of Jean Ribault Expedition to the New World 1565 Slide Timucua Indians of North Florida | Friends of Jean Ribault and Huguenot Colonists Slide Hurricane destroy's the French Fleet of Jean Ribault Slide Matanza-Massacre-French-Huguenot-Jean-Ribault [/vc_column_text][vc_tta_tabs][vc_tta_section title=”

Jean Ribault Quick Facts

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Who was Jean Ribault? Jacksonville FloridaThe renowned French Navigator, Jean Ribault explored the Florida, Georgia and Carolina coastlines (1562-1565). Ribault was in search of colony locations for French Huguenot Christian’s fleeing persecution.  These Huguenots (Sometimes called “Lutherans” by the Spanish) were being brutally murdered by the Catholic Church in France.

Jean Ribault’s epic journey’s for religious freedom took place 54 years before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock (1620).

Dieppe, France the birthplace of French Huguenot Explorer Jean RibaultWHEN WAS JEAN RIBAULT BORN?


  • Jean Ribault was born in Dieppe, France. 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.


  • The name “Huguenot” is used to describe someone who is a Protestant Christian (not a Catholic).
    The Encyclopedia Britannica defines it this way: “Huguenot, any of the Protestants in France in the 16th and 17th centuries, many of whom suffered severe persecution for their faith.”


  • A Protestant, spiritual awakening, was raging like a fire across Europe and had come to France. Non-Catholic Christian’s (Huguenots) were mostly common, every-day people. They were rejecting the rampant corruption of the Catholic Popes and priests.
  • In the 1500’s, many of the French leaders were traditional Roman Catholics and hated the new movement of Protestant/Huguenot Christians. However, the Huguenot movement was rapidly growing in France.
  • This Protestant movement (also known as the Protestant Reformation) threatened the power and control of the now tyrannical Catholic Church, over the “regular folks” in France and all over Europe.
  • To suppress this anti-Catholic movement and protect it’s power, the Catholic Church unleashed a murderous persecution against Protestant Christians.
    Learn More St. Bartholomew Day Massacre
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1st Expedition 1562

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Admiral Gaspard de Coligny - Huguenot Leader and Hero - Murdered by Catholics 1572Admiral Coligny a french nobleman, emerges as a hero.  He chooses Jean Ribault to lead an expedition to the New World. His mission?  Find a refuge for Huguenot Christian’s.

  • Due to the violent persecution of Huguenots by the Catholic Church, Huguenot Christian’s search for a safe refuge.
  • Determined to save his people, Admiral Gaspard de Coligny secretly worked on protecting his fellow Huguenots by attempting to establish colonies in the New World in which Huguenots could find refuge from the Catholic persecutions.
  • Admiral Gaspard de Coligny chose Jean Ribault to lead an expedition to the New World to found a colony.
  • 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
  • May 1, 1562: Jean Ribault enters the St. Johns River near modern Jacksonville, Florida and erects a stone column claiming the territory for France
  • The French expedition sail to the north until they arrive at Port Royal Sound in present-day South Carolina.
  • Jean Ribault’s expedition builds a small fort at the settlement on Parris Island. The outpost is called Charlesfort in honor of the French King Charles IX.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Meanwhile Gaspard de Coligny appoints Ribault’s former lieutenant, Rene Goulaine de Laudonniere, to replace Ribault in the North American colonies
    April 22, 1564: Rene Goulaine de Laudonniere sets sail and arrives in Florida 2 months later.
  • 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.
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2nd Expedition 1564

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René Goulaine de Laudonnière
René Goulaine de Laudonnière

Jean Ribault is imprisoned in England, his former lieutenant (Laudonnière) leads a 2nd expedition to the New World and builds Fort Caroline (present day Jacksonville, Florida).

The 1563 Peace of Amboise finally allowed Admiral Coligny to devote attention for a new voyage to North America. He appointed Ribault’s former lieutenant, René Goulaine de Laudonnière, to replace Ribault in the North American endeavors.

During this time, however, Charlesfort had fallen into despair. Captain Albert de la Pierria’s heavy discipline led the soldiers to a mutiny in which he was deposed and killed at Florida on October 12, 1565. Afterward, a fire destroyed most of the settlement’s meager stores. The survivors elected to build a crude vessel and attempt to sail back to France. The trip was arduous, and most of the participants died before they finally reached the English coast, where they were rescued. News of this reached France just before Laudonnière had embarked on his voyage.

Laudonnière ultimately set sail on April 22, 1564 and arrived at Florida two months later. The plan for Ribault was to follow him in Spring 1565 with reinforcements and fresh supplies. As Charlesfort was now abandoned, the expedition decided to found a new colony on the banks of the St. Johns River in what is now Jacksonville, Florida, the same area Ribault and company had explored on the prior voyage. They christened the settlement Fort Caroline.

Fort Caroline sustained itself for the next year, but Ribault found himself caught up in the fresh outbreak of war in France and was unable to set sail at the appointed time. As a result, the colony experienced food shortages and deteriorating conditions, and some soldiers mutinied and became pirates, attacking Spanish vessels in the Caribbean. The situation was exacerbated by a clash with the Utina, a Timucua Indian tribe up the river to the south.

  • 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.
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3rd Expedition 1565

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Jean Ribault is freed from prison, gathers his forces and courageously departs for the New World (again).  The legendary hero refuses to give up.

  • 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.
  • 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.”
  • 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.
  • On September 10 1565 Jean Ribault took his fleet south to pursue Menéndez de Aviles.
  • 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.

    Jean Ribault and about 350 men are murdered in Florida for their Christian faith.

  • 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.
  • Under the explicit orders of King Philip II of Spain, the prisoners were asked if they were professing Catholics.
  • Those who were Huguenots were murdered immediately.
  • A similar surrender and mass execution by the Spanish of a smaller group of French Huguenots followed a few days later.
  • Jean Ribault and about 350 men were murdered in this dishonourable fashion.
  • The killings are referred to as the Matanzas Massacre.
  • Following the Florida Massacre the French concentrated in building new colonies in the Northern lands of the New World.
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