rather than sectarian purpose, the majority that sailed were Calvinists and
a Protestant preacher accompanied them. The ships were well-equipped
with supplies and carried twenty-five pieces of bronze artillery and large
quantities of ammunition.
Anxious to hide his destination and escape detection by the
Spanish, who were jealously alert to prevent a French invasion of lands in
the New World claimed by Spain, Ribaut sailed an unfrequented course,
avoiding the Canaries and Azores, the usual route of Spain's ships and
treasure fleets. Despite his precautions, however, the one vessel
encountered on the two and a half month's journey across the ocean was
a Spanish ship off the Bermudas.
On April 30, Ribaut had sighted the long, low shoreline of
Florida. Off of a jutting headland, which he named French Cape, near or
slightly above Matanzas Inlet, he turned north to make his landing at the
mouth of the St. Johns River.
As they continued up the Atlantic coast form the St. Johns, the
Frenchmen were enthusiastic over all that they saw. Various rivers
discovered they named after those in France, including the present St.
Marys, which Ribaut called the Seine. At length they reached an
excellent harbor and a great river, the Broad River of South Carolina.
Ribaut named the place Port Royal, and wishing to overhaul his
ships, obtain fuel and water, and closer investigate the area, sailed three
leagues upstream where he anchored. He found the natives of