Coligny was not put off by the failure of France Antarctique. In 1562, he dispatched Jean Ribault to found a Huguenot settlement in America. The settlement, Charlesfort, was short-lived owing to the distractions of France’s civil wars and Ribault’s imprisonment in England. In 1564, Coligny sent out another expedition under the command of Rene de Laudonierre, who founded the colony of Fort Caroline in modern day Florida. Our episode closes with the return of Ribault to America and the ominous appearance of a Spanish fleet off the coast of Fort Caroline.
We talk all about the first Huguenot attempt to establish a safe haven overseas, Nicolas Durand de Villegaignon’s colony of France Antarctique. Villegaignon, however, was a deeply flawed leader, and the colony soon fell to pieces as religious brawling supplanted productive activity. The Portuguese eventually rubbed out the colony, effectively in 1560 and entirely in 1567. But France Antarctique was only the beginning, and Coligny was determined to create a Huguenot haven in America.
In this episode, we cover the French campaign of piracy against Spain and Portugal between the years 1521-1559. We talk about the legal dispute between France and Spain, in which Spain claimed absolute right over the Americas while France maintained the doctrine of effective occupation – basically that claims on a territory meant nothing if the area wasn’t effectively occupied. We then go on to talk a bit about the corsairs who so terorized the Spanish and Portuguese: Jean Fleury, Jean Alphonce, Roberval, and Francois LeClerc – the first recorded pirate to wear a peg-leg. We end with the Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis (1559), in which the negotiators agreed that there was to be ‘no peace beyond the line’, or that no European peace treaty would be binding beyond the Canaries’ longitude and the Tropic of Cancer.