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[Detail] Vue de Quebec, capitale du Canada. 1755.

Historical Analysis and Interpretation: Identifying Causes

Read excerpts from the Narrative of the first voyage of Jean de Ribault, along with footnotes that explain Gaspard de Coligny’s motives for the establishment of a French Huguenot colony in Florida in 1562. Compare the French source with the account of the Spanish destruction of the French colony of Fort Caroline in Florida from the "Narrative of Don Solis de las Meras," brother-in-law of the Adelantado of Florida, in the Memoir of Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales.

Thus ended the efforts of the French to establish a colony on the southern coast of North America. The lily of France was trampled in the dust, and the flag of Spain waved over St. Augustine, San Mateo, and San Lucia. The destruction of the Huguenots excited the utmost gratification at the Court of Spain, and the conduct of Menendez was approved and commended by the bigoted Philip II., and drew forth a letter of gratulation from Pope Pius V.

From "Narrative of Don Solis del las Meras," in "Historical Collections of Louisiana and France," page 222

The collection also includes accounts of these events in French: "La Reprinse de la Floride" attributed to Dominique de Gourgues, the French captain who avenged the slaughter of the Huguenot colony of Fort Caroline in 1567, and  "Histoire Mémorable du Dernier Voyage aux Indes, Lieu Appelé la Floride, (Nouvelle France,) Fait par le Capitaine Jean Ribault by Nicolas Le Challeux."

  • Why did the French establish a colony in Spanish-claimed Florida?
  • How were the religious conflicts in Europe manifested in North America?
  • How do the French and Spanish accounts of the Huguenot colony differ?