The colonial endeavour was started following plans by the French Huguenot leader, Admiral of France Gaspard de Coligny, to establish New World colonies where his persecuted Protestant correligionnaries could safely establish themselves. The first such attempt was an establishment in Brazil, named France Antarctique.
A first landing in Florida was made by Jean Ribault, seconded by René Goulaine de Laudonnière in 1562, before moving north where he set up Charlesfort. Charlesfort was abandoned by all colonists save one the following year due to hardship and internal conflicts, and they sailed back to France.
In 1568, Dominique de Gourgue further explored the area, and, with the help of his allies the Saturiwa Indians, massacred the Spanish garrison in retaliation, but he did not capitalize on this action.
Foundation of Fort Caroline.
- Short film entitled French in Florida: 1562-1566: 
- French in Florida Database--University of Florida
- UF LibGuide on Fort Caroline: