Sunday, September 6, 2009
Ribault Monument - Jacksonville, Florida
Located at St. Johns Bluff in the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, the Ribault Monument has been a Jacksonville landmark for many years.
A replica of the original column erected at the mouth of the St. Johns River by French explorer Jean Ribault in 1562, the monument stands on one of the highest points in the Jacksonville area.
Ribault was sent to America in February of 1562 with the approval of the King of France to locate a site for a colony where the country's Huguenot (Protestant) population could find refuge. The Huguenots then faced severe persecution from France's Catholic majority, which considered them heretics.
Sailing west, Ribault arrived at the mouth of the St. Johns in May of 1562 and erected the monument to mark France's claim to the North American coastline north of that point. He also made contact with the local Timucua Indians before sailing north and establishing a small and short-lived fort in South Carolina.
The French returned to the Florida coast in 1564 to establish a Huguenot colony on the St. Johns River. Despite starvation, disease and enormous difficulty, Fort Caroline survived its first year and might well have become a permanent French settlement had not the Spanish destroyed it in a brutal attack in 1565.
To learn more about the Ribault Monument and see a 16th century sketch of the original, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/ribaultmonument.