Ribaut, Jean

Ribaut or Ribault, Jean

(both: zhäN rēbō`), c.1520–65, French mariner and colonizer in Florida, b. Dieppe. When Gaspard de Coligny decided to plant a French colony as an asylum for Huguenots in the New World, he appointed Ribaut to lead the expedition. Ribaut sailed from France in Feb., 1562, with five vessels carrying 150 colonists. On May 1, after entering the St. Johns River, which he called the River of May, he landed in Florida and claimed the land for France. Sailing north, he established his colony on what is now Parris Island, S.C. (see Sea IslandsSea Islands,
chain of more than 100 low islands off the Atlantic coast of S.C., Ga., and N Fla., extending from the Santee River to the St. Johns River. The ocean side of the islands is generally sandy; the side facing the mainland is marshy.
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), naming it Charlesfort, and then returned to Dieppe in July, 1562. With the Roman Catholics and Huguenots at war in France, Ribaut fled to England and there published the English translation of his report to Coligny, The Whole and True Discouerye of Terra Florida (1563). Queen Elizabeth I of England, after urging him to join Thomas StucleyStucley or Stukely, Thomas
, 1525?–1578, English adventurer. He was rumored to be an illegitimate son of Henry VIII.
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 in establishing an English colony in Florida, accused Ribaut of planning to escape to France with the ships, and he was for some time imprisoned in the Tower of London. Meanwhile, Charlesfort had been abandoned, the colonists sailing for France when aid did not come. However, René de LaudonnièreLaudonnière, René Goulaine de
, fl. 1562–82, French colonizer in Florida. After accompanying Jean Ribaut on the first French expedition to Florida (1562), he led a second colonization attempt in 1564, establishing Fort Caroline (named for Charles IX of
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 in 1564 established a new post, Fort Caroline, near the mouth of the St. Johns. In 1565, Ribault sailed with seven ships and reinforcements for Fort Caroline. The Spanish, alarmed by the activities of these Frenchmen and heretics, dispatched Pedro Menéndez de AvilésMenéndez de Avilés, Pedro
, 1519–74, Spanish naval officer and colonizer, founder of Saint Augustine, Fla. He went to sea as a youth and so distinguished himself that by the time he was 35 he held the captain generalcy of the Indies fleet, which convoyed
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 to drive them out. Ribaut's fleet avoided a fight with Menéndez at the mouth of the St. Johns, and the Spanish sailed to Saint AugustineSaint Augustine
, city (1990 pop. 11,692), seat of St. Johns co., NE Fla.; inc. 1824. Located on a peninsula between the Matanzas and San Sebastian rivers, it is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by Anastasia Island; the Intracoastal Waterway passes through the city. St.
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. Ribaut followed, intending to annihilate them. With Fort Caroline virtually undefended, Menéndez marched overland and killed most of the colonists. Ribaut's fleet, meanwhile, was wrecked in a tropical hurricane. He and his followers, stranded on the coast S of St. Augustine, were captured by Menéndez, who massacred most of them. Ribaut's narrative has been reprinted in facsimile with notes by H. M. Biggar and a biography by Jeannette T. Connor (1927, repr. 1964).

Bibliography

See F. Parkman, Pioneers of France in the New World (1865, repr. 1965).

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