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Jean Ribault
February 18, 1562 French explorer Jean Ribault leaves France with a party of Hugonauts and heads to Port Royal to establish a colony.
  Rene Goulaine De Laudonniere
  Jean Ribault
April 30, 1562 Frenchman Jean Ribault sights land, a point he calls the French Cape (probably near St. Augustine) and heads north along the coast of Florida
  Jean Ribault
May 1, 1562 Jean Ribault lands in the vicinity of a "great river," perhaps the St. John's.
  Jean Ribault
May 27, 1562 Having slowly explored the coast of Georgia, giving French names to many of the rivers and islands, Jean Ribault pulls into a harbor he names Port Royal
  Jean Ribault
June 11, 1562 After establishing a settlement near Beaufort, South Carolina, Jean Ribault heads back to France
  Jean Ribault
September 10, 1565 Jean Ribault, having followed the Spanish fleet north, put into Ft. Caroline. Informed of the Spanish movement from Havana, Ribault, Laudonniere and others leave to attack the Spanish settlement by sea.
  Jean Ribault
  Rene Goulaine De Laudonniere
October 12, 1565 Jean Ribault dies, killed by Spanish soldiers under orders from Pedro Menendez de Aviles. Intending to attack Menendez in St. Augustine, Ribault and Rene Goulaine De Laudonniere (Rene Laudonniere) have their fleet destroyed by a hurricane. Laudonniere escapes, but Ribault is wash ashore, discovered by Spanish troops and eventually stabbed to death.
  Jean Ribault
  Rene Goulaine De Laudonniere


One of the first non-Spanish explorers to visit the coast of Georgia, Jean Ribault was a French captain who traveled to the New World with 150 Huguenots (Protestants) to establish a colony. Landing near St. Augustine, Ribault, along with first officer René Goulaine de Laudonnière, journeyed north along the coast of the present-day Southeastern United States, and ending at Port Royal, South Carolina, giving French names to the geographic features, for example, "Isle de la Somme" for Jekyll Island (the Satilla River was called the Somme).

Ribault's colony built a fort and other structures, but could not sustain themselves, so the mariner returned to France to secure additional supplies from the French government. Upon his return Ribault discovered that a bitter war had broken out between the Protestants and Catholics in France as part of a much broader conflict throughout Europe. He decided to plead his case to Queen Elizabeth of England, hoping to get supplies for the stranded colony.

Instead of supporting the Frenchman, Elizabeth chose to throw him in London Tower, where he stayed while René Laudonnière headed back to America with 300 more Huguenots and supplies for the existing colony. Laudonnière found the colony in poor condition and moved it south to the St. Johns River, where Fort Caroline was constructed.

Laudonnière's expedition ran into serious problems including food shortages. The Spanish, who claimed La Florida, found out about the colony and decided to rid the country of the French. St. Augustine was established as a base from which the Spanish could attack the colony.

In the meantime, Jean Ribault was freed and set sail for his colony. With some 600 soldiers and settlers, and supplies for the struggling colony, Ribault arrived in time to find a desperate situation. Together, Ribault and Laudonnière planned an sea-based attack against the Spanish, which might have worked except Ribault's fleet was destroyed by a storm (normally called a hurricane). The Spanish, who planned a land attack, easily defeated the remaining settlers in Fort Caroline.

Ribault was captured and killed by the Spanish, while Laudonnière returned to France, one of about 50 people from the colony who were ever located.




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