• Sunrise over the Fort George River in the Timucuan Preserve.


    Ecological & Historic Preserve Florida

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Fort Caroline Closed on November 2nd

    Fort Caroline National Memorial including Spanish Pond will be closed to the public on Sunday November 2nd, 2014. The visitor center and trails will reopen on Monday the 3rd of November. The Theodore Roosevelt Area and Ribault Column will remain open.

The End of the Colony

The settlement barely survived that first year. Good relations with the Indians eventually soured and by the following spring the colonists were close to starvation. Twice mutinous parties had sailed off to make their own fortunes and some were eventually captured by the Spanish, revealing the presence of the French colony. The remaining colonists were about to leave Florida in August 1565, when they spotted sails on the horizon. Ribault had arrived with a relief expedition of supplies and 600 soldiers and settlers, including more women and some children.

On learning of Ribault’s departure for Florida, Phillip II of Spain sent Admiral Pedro Menendez to remove the French from Florida. Menendez established a base to the south at St. Augustine. Ribault sailed down the coast seeking to attack the Spanish, but his ships were scattered by a hurricane and beached far to the south.

Seizing the opportunity, Menendez marched north with 500 soldiers to attack the weakly guarded colony. It is believed that the Spanish camped overnight nearby, and attacked early. Forty or fifty French people, including Laudonniere, escaped and sailed for France. Out of the remaining 200 people, only about 60 women and children were spared.

Menendez next marched south and found the shipwrecked Frenchmen, Ribault among them. They threw themselves on his mercy, but to Menendez they were heretics and enemies of his king. At a place later named Matanzas (Slaughter), he put to the sword about 350 men - all but those professing to be Catholics and a few musicians. France never again strongly challenged Spanish claims in North America.

Proceed to Fort Caroline Chronology.

Return to History of Fort Caroline.

Did You Know?

Florida Territorial Governor William Pope Duval

One of the Huguenot inhabitants of la Caroline had the surname of "DuVal.” Jacksonville, Florida, where the national memorial is located, is within Duval County which is named for Florida's first civilian territorial governor, William Pope Duval, a Huguenot descendant. More...