French Florida

French Florida in 1562, by N. Bellin, 18th century

French Florida (Renaissance French: Floride françoise; modern French: Floride française) was a colonial territory established by French Huguenot colonists in what is now Florida and South Carolina between 1562 and 1565.[1]

The colonial endeavour was started following plans by the French Huguenot leader, Admiral of France Gaspard de Coligny, to establish New World colonies where his persecuted Protestant coreligionists could safely establish themselves.[2] The first such attempt was an establishment in Brazil, named France Antarctique.

A first landing in Florida was made by Jean Ribault, and a second by René Goulaine de Laudonnière in 1562, before moving north where he set up Charlesfort, on Parris Island, South Carolina. Charlesfort was abandoned by all colonists, save one, the following year due to hardship and internal conflicts, and they sailed back to France.

In 1564, René Goulaine de Laudonnière again traveled from France, this time to establish Fort Caroline, in what is now Jacksonville.

The French establishment was wiped out by the Spanish in 1565. With the capture of Fort Caroline, Huguenots either fled into the wild mainland or were killed in the subsequent massacre at Matanzas Inlet.

In 1568, Dominique de Gourgues further explored the area, and, with the help of his allies the Saturiwa Indians, massacred the Spanish garrison in retaliation, but he did not capitalize on this action.

See also

  • France Equinoxiale
  • France-Americas relations
  • Raimond Beccarie de Pavie, Seigneur de Fourquevaux
  • Charlesfort (1762–1763)
  • Fort Caroline (1764–1765)
  • Spanish assault on French Florida (1565)


  1. ^ Paul Gaffarel (1875). Histoire de la Floride française. Firmin-Didot et cie. p. 3.
  2. ^ Sixteenth century North America: the land and the people by Carl Ortwin Sauer p.196

External links

Media files used on this page

Exploration of Florida by Ribault and Laudonniere 1564 by Le Moyne de Morgues.jpg
Floride francaise Pierre du Val.jpg
Author: Jacques Lemoyne/Theodore DeBry

Photo credit: The Florida Center for Instructional Technology, University of South Florida source URL:

The images attributed to Jacques le Moyne (actually engravings produced by a Dutch publisher named Theodor de Bry, who was supposed to have based his engravings on paintings by le Moyne) have fallen under intense scrutiny and their legitimacy as works related to le Moyne are considered very questionable. Jerald Milanich, author of books on the Timucua and an archaeologist at the Florida Museum of Natural History has published an article in which he questions whether Le Moyne produced drawings of the Timucua at all, based on the unexplainable lack of any definite documentation or evidence.

(See: Milanich, Jerald, "The Devil in the Details", Archaeology, May/June 2005)