The French commander and his men entered into friendly
relations with the Indians, who greeted them with respectful eagerness.
Ribaut gave their chief a robe of blue cloth bearing a design of the regal
fleur-de-lis in yellow, and was in turn presented with several articles of
primitive attire and other gifts.
The new comers were delighted with the beauty of the spring
morning the rich verdure and abundance of game of the countryside.
The amicable natives intrigued them with the information that the wealth
of Cibola, gold, silver, pearls and other riches, was not for distant.
After returning to their ships for the night, the Frenchmen landed
again the following day. With them they brought a pillar of hard stone
on which was engraved the King's arms. On a little knoll, on the south
shore, "compassed with cipers, bayes, palmes, and other trees, and sweet
smelling shrubbes," [sic] they planted this pillar, solemnly claiming the
land for France. The Huguenots, having concluded this ceremony,
remained ashore to participate in a native feast. May 3, they embarked
and sailed northward to continue their explorations.
The first Protestants in North America, they had reached our
shores fifty-eight years before the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth. And
like the latter they had come in search of freedom--a site for religious
The threat of persecution and bitter religious warfare was
darkening over France. Gaspard de Coligny, High Admiral and leader