Fort Caroline National Memorial, administered by the National Park Service, memorializes the French presence in Florida. In 1564 France established a settlement near the mouth of the St. Johns River named La Caroline ("land of Charles"), in honor of King Charles IX. This settlement, a village and fort, was intended to provide refuge for Huguenots (French Protestants). Having previously laid claim to Florida, Spain viewed this settlement as a threat to Spanish sovereignty in the New World. Accordingly, King Philip II of Spain ordered Don Pedro MenÚndez de AvilÚs and his armada to attack and capture La Caroline. Through luck and circumstance MenÚndez's force accomplished its mission. More than 140 Frenchman were killed when the fort was attacked on September 20, 1565. Another 350, part of the command of Jean Ribault that had arrived just three weeks earlier, were also massacred by the Spanish at a place later named Matanzas ("Slaughter"). The original site of Fort de la Caroline has never been determined and is believed to have been located near the present day Memorial. The National Park Sevice constructed an outdoor exhibit of the original fort in 1964.
Fort Caroline is ten miles east of Jacksonville and can be reached by traveling east on Florida 10, turning on St. Johns Bluff Road, then Monument Road, and proceeding east on Fort Caroline Road. For more information visit the National Park Service's website, Fort Caroline National Memorial.