445 years of French History
DRAWING OF FORT CAROLINE, BUILT IN 1564
In the 1500s and 1600s, two colonial empires battled for control of Florida, Spain and France. The two similar cultures fought and died in religious and colonial wars here, with the French Fort Caroline (today's Jacksonville) founded by Jean Ribault in 1564.
Fort Caroline was burned by the Spanish in 1565, rebuilt by the Spanish, and then burned by the French in 1568. South of St. Augustine, the Spanish murdered some 300 French soldiers, including Jean Ribault after they had surrendered. The Matanzas River is named for the Spanish word for slaughter.