| The Heath Anthology of
American Literature, Fifth Edition
René Goulaine de Laudonnière
The Huguenots, French Protestants,
conducted a protracted religious war against the Catholic crown between 1562
and 1598. They were permitted by authorities, however, to participate in
colonial ventures, especially where such ventures would disrupt the Spanish
colonies. After failing in Brazil, the Huguenots turned to the northern
Atlantic coast, claimed by the Spanish. From there they could attack the
Spanish Silver Fleets. Jean Ribault’s Port Royal, South Carolina, failed in
1562, but René Guilaine de Laudonnière’s Fort Caroline colony near the mouth of
the St. John’s River in Florida proved more promising in 1564. France and Spain
were at peace in Europe, but the French crown turned a blind eye to Huguenot
attacks and violations of international agreements, since the potential profits
were enormous. The king of Spain, however, ordered the colony eliminated by the
permanent Spanish colonization of Florida, a name which covered from New Mexico
on the west to Newfoundland in the north. Menéndez de Avilés enacted Philip
II’s policy with deadly skill.
Like the Spanish
writers, the French chroniclers functioned as early anthropologists,
documenting Native American customs. Yet, as this text demonstrates, they often
could not fathom entirely the meaning of what they were witnessing. This brutal
event may be understood better as a sacred ritual in a culture that had not
replaced the human victim with a symbolic substitute.
University of California at Irvine
In the Heath Anthology
from A Notable Historie Containing Foure Voyages Made by Certaine French Captaines unto Florida
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Brief bio of de Laudonnier.
Welcome to the First Coast
The page includes historical information on Avilés founding of St. Augustine and the French colonization in 16th century.
Henry Folmer, Franco-Spanish Rivalry in North America, 1524-1763, 1953
Woodbury Lowery, The Spanish Settlements Within the Present Limits of the United States, v.2, 1959