This postage stamp
was part of a series of three stamps issued to commemorate the three
hundredth anniversary of the settling of Walloons in New Netherlands,
now the State of New York, in 1624. The Huguenots and the Walloons were
early French and Flemish settlers of America, sharing a bond of
Protestant heritage, both adhering to the strict Calvinist
stamps, designed by C. Aubrey Huston, were first placed on sale May 1,
1924, at Washington, D.C., Jacksonville, and Mayport. The stamp has for
its central design the Ribault Monument in Mayport, Florida
commemorating the landing of the Huguenots on May 1, 1562.
French naval officer Jean Ribault, the French
exploratory group came ashore near
mouth of the River of May (now the St. Johns River), and they were
greeted by Native Americans called the Timucuans. Ribault, along
with his lieutenant
René Goulaine de Laudonnière, erected a
stone column bearing the coats of arms of his French King.
Ribault and Laudonnière
returned to Europe to arrange supplies for the new colony. In June
again to the mouth of the St. Johns River, and was once more welcomed
Laudonnière led the colonists inland, where they founded Fort
Caroline at St. Johns Bluff. The fort was named for
the reigning French king Charles IX.
this drawing by Le Moyne, when René
de Laudonnière returned to the St. Johns River in 1564,
the column erected by Ribault two years earlier was still standing.
Atore, the son of Timucuan
Saturiwa, and his
fellow Timucuans showed great reverence for the column
with flowers and various offerings as a sign of peace to the French
In August 1565, Ribault returned to Ft. Caroline to resupply the
settlement. Upon learning of the Spanish fortifying the colony of St.
35 miles to the south, Ribault set out with several ships carrying 200
sailors and 400 soldiers to dislodge the Spanish, but he was surprised
at sea by a violent storm lasting several days.
Don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, the governor of Florida for
Spain, took advantage of this. Marching his troops overland, he
surprised the Fort Caroline garrison at dawn on September 20, which
then numbered about 200 to 250 people. The Spaniards attacked them and
killed most of the defenders, except for about 50 women and children
who were taken prisoner and 26 defenders who managed to escape,
including de Laudonnière.
Meanwhile Ribault's fleet of ships was wrecked on the coast south of
St. Augustine. The Spanish picked up many of the survivors and killed
them, including Ribault. This massacre put an end to France's
attempts at colonization in Florida.
early 1920s a movement began in the Florida Chapters of the Daughters
of the American Revolution to mark the location of Ribault’s first
arrival in the New World. In 1924 a piece of land was donated near
present-day Mayport for a new column designed by Florida sculptor
Adrian Pillars (who also designed the famous winged sculpture in
Memorial Park). At this time the U.S. Post Office released this
commemorative stamp of Ribault’s column, and the U.S. Mint released a
When U.S. Naval Station Mayport was established in 1941, the monument
became inaccessible to the public and was moved. Three moves later, in
1958, the monument found its permanent home on St. Johns Bluff, and
became part of the new National Park site, Fort Caroline National
Memorial. Now situated atop St. Johns Bluff, the monument provides a
commanding view of the St. Johns River.
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