Mayor Brown's Message

Mayor Alvin Brown On May 1, 2012, Jacksonville commemorated the 450th anniversary of  French Huguenot Captain Jean Ribault’s arrival and the beginning of French history in Florida. This year, we celebrate the 450th anniversary of the founding of Fort Caroline. I welcome and encourage all to join in the many celebrations and observances of this important event.
This website,, is designed to highlight the many commemorative activities taking place to honor our region's French heritage. The site also provides a listing of historical resources and links to information pertaining to Ribault’s arrival in 1562, to help inform and educate readers on our unique history.
Thank you, and Bienvenue à Jacksonville!


Commemorate 450 

En françaisOn May 1, 1562, Jean Ribault sailed into what we now call the St. Johns River, and named it The River of May. He met with the indigenous, Mocama-speaking Timucua Indians on the North side of the river and claimed the beautiful land for France by placing a stone onto the ground in her honor.  
The next French exploration occurred in 1564, Fort Carolinela Caroline - was built, and the “First Thanksgiving” took place on June 30 of the same year.

Commemorating 450 Years of French History in Florida

This website is a resource to help you commemorate the 450th anniversary of Huguenot Captain Jean Ribault's arrival in Northeast Florida, and the founding of Fort Caroline. You can read headlines, brush up on your history, keep up with events, peruse the marketplace or find a restaurant for French Week.

More information is available in Events.

To submit an event, fill out this
Event Submission form.

Sesquiquadricentennial for Fort Caroline logo

Searching for the Lost French Fleet

The search for the lost French Fleet of 1565 in now live online. Visit the NOAA Ocean Explorer website to track the expedition and its progress.

French galleons similar to those in Ribault’s fleet, taken from Theodor de Bry’s book of engravings based on Jacques Le Moyne’s original drawings of the 1564 colonization. Image courtesy of the Service Historique de la Défense, Vincennes, France. (via NOAA)

Resource Library

An engraving based on a painting by Le MoyneExplore the impact that France has had on the history of our state. The Resource Library contains links to some valuable information and resources that detail the people and events that helped shape Florida's early history.

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