Fort Caroline, The Lost Fortress May Be In Georgia?

Feb 22, 2014
Fort Caroline was a French colony in America was built in 1564 under the leadership of Rene de Goulaine Laudonniere, used as a shelter Huguenot (French Protestant). This fort survive one year and disappeared after the Spanish attack in 1565. Many researchers have been searching for the remains of Fort Caroline for more than 150 years but did not find any evidence, in other words, this fort has been lost.

This study may stimulate the writing of a new chapter of American history during the early colonization of the New World. Two researchers say that they proposed location surrounded settlement ever found in North America. In an international conference 'La Floride Française: Florida, France, and the Francophone World' at Florida State University, they announced a finding fort has long sought and was built by the French in 1564.

A Brief History Of The Fort Caroline

Rene de Goulaine Laudonniere got the commands to bring approximately 200 new colony on an expedition to Florida in 1562. They built a fort on the date of June 22, 1564 in St. Jhons Bluff, King Charles IX of France gave the name of the fort as Fort Caroline (Fort de la Caroline). But for more than a year, the French colony plagued by famine, attacks of the Indians, rebellion, and these attracted the attention of Spain to take over the region.

In 1565, Ribault freed from the British prison and Coligny sent him to Florida. In late August he arrived at Fort Caroline with hundreds of soldiers and settlers to take command. Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles was ordered to remove the French Post and ship arrives in a few days. After a brief battle between ships Ribault and Menendez, Spain retreated as far as 56 kilometers to the South where they established the settlement St. Augustine.

Fort Caroline, Lost Fortress

Ribault pursue Spanish troops with several ships and most of his troops, but the sea storm lasted for several days. All Ribault ship sank during a storm in the south, many French ships were lost, Ribault and several other sailors were stranded thus forcing it to surrender to Menendez. Menéndez then executed Ribault and hundreds of Huguenot is now known as the Matanza Inlet.

Spain destroy Fort Caroline and build a new fort at the same place. In April 1568, Dominique de Gourgues bring French troops and attack the Spanish colonies then catching, slaughtered of prisoners, and burned the fort Spain, as revenge for the massacres that occurred in 1565.
The fort was rebuilt by the Spanish, but permanently abandoned the following year, and the exact location of the colony is actually still unknown. Many historians are still suspect, whether the Fort Caroline really exist as depicted in the historical record.

Fort Caroline in Georgia? 

Fletcher Crowe said, This fort is older than St. Augustine, considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in America. It's older than the Lost Colony of Virginia by 21 years; older than the 1607 fort of Jamestown by 45 years; and predates the landing of the Pilgrims in Massachusetts in 1620 by 56 years. At first, for more than 150 years archaeologists searching several locations where Fort Caroline. The fort was long thought to be located east of downtown Jacksonville, Fla., on the south bank of the St. Johns River. The Fort Caroline National Memorial is located just east of Jacksonville's Dames Point Bridge, which spans the river.
But Crowe and Anita Spring said that the legendary Fort Caroline is located near the mouth of the Altamaha River in Southeast Georgia. 
Their findings highlight the French presence in Southeast Florida, up to this day the people of France and the Francophone plays an important role. They fly to Paris and conducted research at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, where they find a map of Fort Caroline made in the 16th and 17th century. Some maps are written in the 16th century, Latin, Spanish, and other languages written in English.

Fort Caroline map

Crowe comparing the map of France of the 16th century to the 18th which is located in the southeast coast of the United States National Oceanic And Atmospheric published Adinistration, the maps published by the U.S. Geological Survey. One of the reasons is Fort Caroline near Jacksonville because the local Indian tribes speaking Timucuan language, which is the language of Native Americans in Northeast Florida. 

In 1565, the Spanish army under Pedro Menendez attacked Fort Caroline and massacred 143 men and women who lived there. The French had published news reports, the location of dozens of Indian villages located close to the fort called 'French Florida'. Then researchers discovered 'French Florida' written on maps of the 16th century, precisely map written in 1685.

Fort Caroline site structure form an equilateral triangle surrounded by a moat and a wall length of about 800 meters, the same as the original characteristics of Fort Caroline. French Florida was large oval stretching from the Santee River in South Carolina to Marys River, today serves as the border of Georgia and Florida.


Florida State University: "Oldest fortified settlement ever found in North America? Location of Fort Caroline may be in Georgia." via ScienceDaily, 21 February 2014. Floride francaise Pierre du Val, image courtesy of Wikipedia.