"The Huguenots were the first to establish the fort," replied Earl's
"Who were the Huguenots?"
"They were people who decided that they did not want to
worship God as the Catholics did. In France, the people who left the
Catholic Church were called Huguenots. The leader of the Huguenots
wished to find a refuge for some of his people in the New World. He
heard of Florida and decided it was the very place for them."
"How did they know where to find St. Johns Bluff?" asked Earl
thoughtfully, fixing his eyes on the distant banks of the river.
"Well, in 1562, the Huguenots made their first attempt to plant a
colony over here. An exploring fleet under Joan Ribaut landed on the
coast of Florida and entered the mouth of the St. Johns River. He called
it the River of May because it was discovered on the first day of May.
Ribaut made friends with the Indians and before sailing on up the coast,
he erected a stone marker with the arms of France engraved on its side.
This was to establish France's claim to this part of the New World."
"Did Ribaut build 'Fort Caroline?" Earl asked looking eagerly
into the eyes of Uncle Henry.
"No," replied his uncle. "But two years later, in 1564, the
Huguenots sent an expedition under the leadership of Rene De Laudonniere,
who had been a lieutenant under Ribaut in the first expedition.