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“R” is for Ribault, Jean (ca. 1515-1565)

“R” is for Ribault, Jean (ca. 1515-1565). Explorer, mariner. Ribault established the short-lived colonial outpost of Charlesfort, the earliest French settlement in the present-day United States, in Port Royal Sound. A native of Normandy, Ribault had a reputation as one of France’s most accomplished mariners. In 1562 he was commissioned to lead an expedition to North America. His force of 150 men in two small ships landed near modern Jacksonville, Florida. Ribault then explored north along the coast claiming the territory for France. Before returning home he left about two dozen men in a small garrison, named Charlesfort. In 1565 he led an expedition to reinforce the new French settlement at Fort Caroline on the St. John’s River. A Spanish force inflicted a crushing defeat on the French, killing Jean Ribault and hundreds of soldiers and civilians

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.