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French celebrate 450 years – next year

Historic City News | April 19, 2011 |

Historic City News learned that an alliance, organized to promote French culture and its language in the United States, will hold its own 450th anniversary in May of next year — commemorating the establishment of Paris Island, now known as Jacksonville, by Jean Ribault in 1562.

Gael de Maisonneuve, Consul General of France in Miami, announced plans for the commemoration of the 450th anniversary of French Heritage in Florida during a presentation he made at the Casa Monica Hotel yesterday afternoon.

“France played a significant role in our history,” Maisonneuve reminded those in attendance.

Later, in 2015, L’Alliance Française de Jacksonville, Inc., will recognize the establishment of Fort Caroline by Rene Laudonniere in 1565 — the year Spanish explorer Pedro Menendez founded St. Augustine.

Alliance President, Francois Kloc, informed Historic City News that about twenty people, American and French, organized the Alliance in Jacksonville in 1961 and affiliated with the national Federation of Alliances. The original group has grown to approximately 100 members today.

Of course, as pointed out by former Mayor George Gardner in today’s St. Augustine Report, the role of France in the earliest history of St. Augustine wasn’t pleasant for the French — Fort Caroline was captured and surviving soldiers massacred by Pedro Menendez and his men.<>

1-  Parris (note correct spelling) Island is in South Carolina, the site of Charlesfort, which has been archaeologically excavated and researched by the South Carolina Institute of Anthropology and Archaeology (Dr. Stanley South and Dr. Chester DePratter, et al.)

2-  Charlesfort was never in Jacksonville.  It was Fort Caroline that was established near  St. Johns Bluff in Jax by Laudonniere in 1564.  (If the French Consul General, Mr. Newhouse, doesn't know his own history should "they" be allowed to celebrate errors??!  Mais non!)

A reader's comments:
   A correction of the facts is in order, Mike Gold.

   Why anyone quotes  George Gardner's take on history is puzzling.  It might be expedient, but he is an unreliable source.  He is not a historian as much as he is a "factoid snipper." (Same as David Nolan.)  George is a nice man, but filled with misinformation on the history of St. Augustine--and appears to be content with that.

Not only Gardner's historical snippets, but also Boles' - maybe its a Mayor thingee?  Boles continues to repeat that "The first Catholic Mass in the New World was celebrated in St. Augustine," and "Christianity began in the Americas at St. Augustine."  Maybe when the Pope arrives for the celebration he can straighten things out.  

I'm withholding judgment on whether "the frenchies [are] wrong about their own history" as I suspect errors in reporting or translation are more likely.  

The records of Ribault's five ships with the "Huguenot" settlers in 1562, first making landfall near Cape Canaveral, then sailing north and coming ashore at May Port (near the future Cowford, Fl.) where the plaque with the French claim of discovery/possession was left, and then sailing up to Parris Island where the settlers disembarked are available.  

It appears to me that the "claim of possession" near May Port in Florida in 1562 is the basis of the French 450th anniversary next year; not the Ft. Caroline establishment a year+ later. Forum Index -> In the News Local (St Augustine)
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