One part of Fort Caroline National Memorial is the Ribault Monument. Situated atop St. Johns Bluff, the monument provides a commanding view of the St. Johns River. On a clear day, you can see the Atlantic Ocean and Mayport Naval Station five miles to the east, and river activity, wildlife, and marshes below. The monument is open 9:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. daily.
History of the Monument
The Ribault Monument commemorates the 1562 landing of Jean Ribault near the mouth of the St. Johns River. Ribault erected a stone column bearing the coats of arms of his French King Charles IX to claim Florida for France.
During the early 1920s a movement began in the Florida Chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution to mark the location of Ribault’s first arrival in the New World. The goal was to highlight the beginnings of European colonization of Florida by Protestants - for the sake of religious freedom - and to remind Americans that this colony was established half a century prior to the Plymouth Colony. In 1924 a piece of land was donated near present-day Mayport for a new column designed by Florida sculptor Charles Adrian Pillars. The U.S. Post Office also released a commemorative stamp of Ribault’s landing, and the U.S. Mint released a coin.
When U.S. Naval Station Mayport was established in 1941, the monument became inaccessible to the public and was moved. Three moves later, in 1958, the monument found its permanent home on St. Johns Bluff, and became part of the new National Park site, Fort Caroline National Memorial.
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Did You Know?
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...