A School History of the United States eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 507 pages of information about A School History of the United States.

More than half a century had now gone by since the first voyage of Columbus.  Yet not a settlement, great or small, had been established by Spain within our boundary.  Between 1546 and 1561 missionaries twice attempted to found missions and convert the Indians in Florida, and twice were driven away.  In 1582 others entered the valleys of the Gila and the Rio Grande, took possession of the pueblos, established missions, preached the Gospel to the Indians, and brought them under the dominion of Spain.  But when Santa Fe (sahn’-tah fa’) was founded, in 1582, the only colony of Spain in the United States, besides the missions in Arizona and New Mexico, was St. Augustine in Florida.

[Illustration:  A Spanish mission]

%14.  St. Augustine.%—­St. Augustine was founded by the Spaniards in order to keep out the French, who made two attempts to occupy the south Atlantic coast.  The first was that of John Ribault (ree-bo’).  He led a colony of Frenchmen, in 1562, to what is now South Carolina, built a small fort on a spot which he called Port Royal, and left it in charge of thirty men while he went back to France for more colonists.  The men were a shiftless set, depended on the Indians till the Indians would feed them no longer, and when famine set in, they mutinied, slew their commander, built a crazy ship and went to sea, where an English vessel found them in a starving condition, and took them to London.

In 1564 a second party, under Laudonniere (lo-do-ne-ar’), landed at the St. Johns River in Florida, and built a fort called Fort Caroline in honor of Charles IX. of France.  But the King of Spain, hearing that the French were trespassing, sent an expedition under Menendez (ma-nen’-deth), who founded St. Augustine in 1565.  There Ribault, who had returned and joined Laudonniere, attempted to attack the Spaniards.  But a hurricane scattered his ships, and while it was still raging, Menendez fell suddenly on Fort Caroline and massacred men, women, and children.  A few days later, falling in with Ribault and his men, who had been driven ashore south of St. Augustine, Menendez massacred 150 more.[1] For this foul deed a Frenchman named Gourgues (goorg) exacted a fearful penalty.  With three small ships and 200 men, he sailed to the St. Johns River, took and destroyed the fort which the Spaniards had built on the site of Fort Caroline, and put to death every human being within it.

[Footnote 1:  The story of the French in Florida is finely told in Parkman’s Pioneers of France in the New World; also J. Sparks’s Life of Ribault; Baird’s Huguenot Emigration.]

[Illustration:  Gateway at St. Augustine[2]]

[Footnote 2:  Remaining from the Spanish occupation of Florida.]


1.  From 1492 to 1513 the Europeans who came to America explored the coasts of North and South America, but did not go inland.

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A School History of the United States from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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