"Fort Caroline: French settlement goes back to 1564" Top 5 Page for this destination Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve Tip by HSC123

  Fort Caroline National Memorial, Jacksonville
by HSC123
 
  • Fort Caroline National Memorial, Jacksonville - Jacksonville
      Fort Caroline National Memorial, Jacksonville
    by HSC123
  • Fort Caroline National Memorial, Jacksonville - Jacksonville
      Fort Caroline National Memorial, Jacksonville
    by HSC123
  • Fort Caroline National Memorial, Jacksonville - Jacksonville
      Fort Caroline National Memorial, Jacksonville
    by HSC123
  • Ribault Monument at Ft. Caroline, Jacksonville - Jacksonville
      Ribault Monument at Ft. Caroline, Jacksonville
    by HSC123
  • Ribault Monument at Ft. Caroline, Jacksonville - Jacksonville
      Ribault Monument at Ft. Caroline, Jacksonville
    by HSC123
 

Tucked on high sand dune bluffs overlooking the St. Johns River in a wooded residential area half way between the beaches and downtown is Fort Caroline. The original French settlement was founded in 1564 -- one year before the Spanish founded Saint Augustine, which today has prevailed as the nation's oldest city.

Today, Fort Caroline boasts scenic nature trails, a visitor center, and a boat dock, in addition to serving as a visitor center for Jacksonville's vast
Timucuan National Historic & Ecological Preserve.

Why is Fort Caroline important? Here is the fort's and region's earliest history in a nut shell:

1513: the Spaniard Ponce de Leon landed in what is today called
Guana River State Park, half -way between present-day Jacksonville and Saint Augustine. Although he laid claim to "La Florida," Spain still failed to establish an actual settlement for decades.

1564: French Huguenots sailed into the mouth of the St. Johns River and established Fort Caroline in present day Jacksonville. Thanks to Fort Caroline, the first ever official trade transaction in North America occurred in what is now Jacksonville, a fact that the Port Authority likes to trumpet today.

1565: The French settlement in "Spain's" Florida angered the Spanish king, prompting him to send his best admiral, Pedro Menendez, to the area to eradicate the Huguenots and finally establish a successful Spanish colony. He founded Saint Augustine at another natural harbor about 40 miles south of Fort Caroline. His men defeated the French and Saint Augustine went on to withstand numerous invasions and politcal exchanges to become what still exists today as the oldest city in the United States.

Had Menendez lost, Florida's history may have been decidedly more French than Spanish and Jacksonville, not Saint Augustine, would be the nation's oldest city today.

Address: 12713 Ft Caroline Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32225
Directions: East Arlington/Ft. Caroline neighborhood
Phone: (904) 641-7155
Website: http://www.nps.gov/foca/index.htm

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Mar 27, 2011
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