French Florida

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French Florida in 1562, by N. Bellin, 18th century
Floride française ("French Florida"), by Pierre du Val, 17th century

French Florida (French: Floride française) was a colonial territory established by French Huguenot colonists in the modern area of Florida between 1562 and 1565.

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.[1] 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.

Exploration of Florida by Ribault and Laudonniere, 1564, by Le Moyne de Morgues.

In 1564, René Goulaine de Laudonnière again traveled from France, this time to establish Fort Caroline, in what is now Jacksonville.

The French establishment was wiped out by the Spanish in 1565, and all Huguenots put to the sword, in the capture of Fort Caroline, and the subsequent massacre at Matanzas Inlet.

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.

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