On our way from New Smyrna to NC we had the privilege of volunteering at Timucuan’s Fort Caroline Memorial with good friend Lewis Greg Prettyman our friendly park ranger. They allowed us to use a full hook-up concrete pad in their beautiful woods in exchange for building the most bad ass cannon carriage ever made. We got a couple of other perks which will be discussed in later posts, but the most special was the Prettyman’s hospitality having us over to dinner, letting the dogs play and meeting the family again – 5 years later. But enough of that, lets talk about the fort.
The actual location of Ft Caroline is unknown, but it was somewhere near the mouth of the May River (currently St. Johns River). The National Park Service has a location with-in the Timucuan Preserve to memorialize the forts history. The site has docks and overlooks on the St. Johns River, nice nature trails and a replica fort complete with cannons. Apparently they have more cannons than carriages for the cannons to ride on so —– we are building a cannon carriage.
Ft Caroline was the French’s attempt at establishing a settlement in Florida a mostly Spanish territory. An exploratory voyage lead by Jean Ribault to find a suitable location for inhabitance left France in Feb 1562. By 1654 they had a permanent settlement of 200 soldiers and artisans, just a couple of miles north of the Spanish settlement of St. Augustine. Long story short, the Spanish got wind of the French settlement and did not like the idea.
So, the Spanish crept north to eliminate the French invasion. The logistics get complicated, but the Spanish prepared to attacked, the French got reinforcements, the Spanish did attack, the Spanish were merciless and killed most, but some French fled, some got caught in a hurricane moving south, and some went back to France. But by the end the Spanish had killed all except some Catholics and a few musicians, maybe a couple of women and children were spared for goodwill??
Either way the Spanish won this battle and the French abandoned the colony.
Peace and Love.