Ft. Caroline Jacksonville Reviews
Sep 22, 2007
During the 16th century, France was driven to expand her empire looking to the west for a foothold after learning of the Spaniardâ€™s success in the Americas. Franceâ€™s first attempt at settling on American soil was at Ft. Caroline, a fort built near the St Johnâ€™s River in Jacksonville, Florida. The fort was named after King Charles IX.
At the time there was a growning persecution of French Protestants, known as Hugenots. This led Admiral Gaspard de Coligny to propose to the King that the colony be used as a refuge for Hugenots. The crown agreed and Jean Ribault was sent in February of 1562 to begin the settlement with the help of 200 soldiers and artisans. The French were accepted by the local Timucua Indians and the Timucua even helped the colonists build a village and the fort on the south bank.
The colony barely survived its first year. The Frenchmanâ€™s relationship with the Timucua came to a screaching halt and many of the colonists were close to starvation. The two times the colony sent ships off of the coast, the nearby Spanish who had established a fort in St. Augustine, Florida, captured them. The Spanish were making a killing off of silver and gold they mined Central and South America and nervous were about the Frenchâ€™s presence in their area. King Phillip II of Spain sent Admiral Menedez to exterminate the French. He brought 500 soldiers to the weakly guarded colony and killed about 200 of the colonists sparing the women and children.
Today a reconstructed version of the triangular shaped fort is open to visitors hoping to take a step back into North Floridaâ€™s History. Rangers give a guided tour of the fort retelling the history of the establishment. If youâ€™re taking the little ones, be sure to stop at the fun playground on the premises. Located nearby are excellent walking trails and lovely views of not only the St. Johnâ€™s River but also some terrific wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled
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