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News — Fort Marion

First European battle on American soil

Posted by Kenneth Peck on

On this day September 20th, 1565 Spanish forces under Pedro Menéndez de Avilés capture the French Huguenot settlement of Fort Caroline, near present-day Jacksonville, Florida. The French, commanded by Rene Goulaine de Laudonniere, lost 135 men in the first instance of colonial warfare between European powers in America. Most of those killed were massacred on the order of Aviles, who allegedly had the slain hanged on trees beside the inscription “Not as Frenchmen, but as heretics.” Laudonniere and some 40 other Huguenots escaped. In 1564, the French Huguenots (Protestants) had settled on the Banks of May, a strategic point on...

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