Jean Ribault Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1520 – 1565 *** Full Name: Jean Ribault *** Occupation: French Naval Officer, Navigator and Colonizer *** Date of Birth: Jean Ribault was born in 1520, the exact date is unknown *** Place of Birth: Jean Ribault was born in Dieppe, in the Province of Normandy. *** Family background: Nothing is really known for certain of his family background, his early life or his education, it can be assumed he received some form of education to be able to read and write and do mathematics ***
Jean Ribault Fact 1: Jean Ribault was born in 1520 and during the 16th century period in history when Portugal and Spain were exploring the oceans of the world and colonizing new lands.
Jean Ribault Fact 2: As soon as possible he entered the French navy and would be under the command of Admiral Gaspard de Coligny a great Huguenot and widely respected.
Jean Ribault Fact 3: By 1562 Admiral Coligny had chosen Ribault to head up an expedition to the New World and to found a colony there.
Jean Ribault Fact 4: With a fleet of one hundred and fifty colonists Ribault left France in February and crossed the Atlantic Ocean.
Jean Ribault Fact 5: He made land fall at the mouth of a river he went on to call River May and proceeded to erect a column of stone and claimed the territory for France.
Jean Ribault Fact 6: They continued north following the coast and charting the coastline until they reached Port Royal Sound where they disembarked and began to establish a settlement on one of the Sea Islands, Parris Island.
Jean Ribault Fact 7: Jean Ribault assisted in the design and oversaw the building of a small fort which was named for King Charles and was called Charlesfort.
Jean Ribault Fact 8: Assigning twenty seven men to be under the command of Albert de la Pierria, Ribault set sail on his return voyage to France.
Jean Ribault Fact 10: However, when he arrived back in Le Havre he found the country at war between the Protestant Huguenots and the Roman Catholics in the French Wars of Religion.
Jean Ribault Fact 9: His intention had been to return to France, replenish stocks and make a return journey to the New World with supplies for the colonists.
Jean Ribault Fact 11: Although he instantly came to the assistance of the Huguenots in Dieppe he would be forced to flee for England when Dieppe fell into the hands of the Catholics.
Jean Ribault Fact 12: Once in England he managed to get an audience with her majesty Queen Elizabeth I.
Jean Ribault Fact 13: His intentions had been to raise money and organize for more settlers to take back to the New World, instead he would be arrested and imprisoned as a spy in the Tower of London.
Jean Ribault Fact 14: While he was otherwise engaged he decided to make a record of his voyage and the account only survives translated into English.
Jean Ribault Fact 15: Unbeknownst to Ribault, Coligny was arranging for Rene Goulaine de Laudonniere, Ribault's former lieutenant, to make the return voyage back to Charlesfort with supplies. Fortunately before they set sail, news reached them that Charlesfort had been abandoned, there had been a mutiny which resulted in the death of Captain Pierria, fires had destroyed much of the colonist supplies and they managed to build a very basic vessel on which some managed to make the journey to England where they were rescued.
Jean Ribault Fact 16: Laudonniere nevertheless made the trip in April of 1564 arriving in Florida two months hence with Ribault due to follow in spring the following year.
Jean Ribault Fact 17: Again Ribault’s departure was delayed and the new colony was again put in jeopardy and just as Laudonniere was readying his return to France Ribault arrived to relieve him of his command.
Jean Ribault Fact 18: Ribault however was unaware that the Spanish, who had previously laid claim to Florida, where en route to seek out the French and forcibly remove them.Jean Ribault Fact 19: Within days of his arrival the Spanish fleet appeared over the horizon and attempted to board the French ships, but rough weather denied the Spanish but saved the French.
Jean Ribault Fact 20: The Spanish headed south were they disembarked and were ordered to March the forty miles north back to the French settlement. At the same time Ribault had his ships follow Menendez’s but the raging hurricane completely destroyed his fleet and forced them men to abandon ship and swim to shore.
Jean Ribault Fact 21: The Spanish arrived at the fort and put to death approximately one hundred and forty men that had been left there. The Spanish then set out to find Ribault and his remaining men and under the impression that if they surrendered they would be treated fairly, Ribault surrendered. His men were separated into small groups, asked if they were catholic and if not, killed. Apart from a few were all murdered by the Spanish, including Ribault around three hundred and fifty of his men and officers were brutally murdered.
Jean Ribault Fact 22: Jean Ribault died on October 12th 1565.
Influence & Legacy: Three years later, Dominique de Gourgues attacked the Spanish held Fort Caroline with two hundred men. The Spanish surrendered under the assault and in revenge for the massacre of Ribault, his men and colonist, all prisoners were put to death.
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