Yesterday, Historic City News learned that an alliance, organized to promote French culture and its language in the United States, will hold its own 450th anniversary in May of next year — commemorating the establishment of Paris Island, now known as Jacksonville, by Jean Ribault in 1562.
Gael de Maisonneuve, Consul General of France in Miami, announced plans for the commemoration of the 450th anniversary of French Heritage in Florida during a presentation he made at the Casa Monica Hotel yesterday afternoon.
“France played a significant role in our history,” Maisonneuve reminded those in attendance.
Later, in 2015, L’Alliance Française de Jacksonville, Inc., will recognize the establishment of Fort Caroline by Rene Laudonniere in 1565 — the year Spanish explorer Pedro Menendez founded St. Augustine.
Alliance President, Francois Kloc, informed Historic City News that about twenty people, American and French, organized the Alliance in Jacksonville in 1961 and affiliated with the national Federation of Alliances. The original group has grown to approximately 100 members today.
Of course, as pointed out by former Mayor George Gardner in today’s St. Augustine Report, the role of France in the earliest history of St. Augustine wasn’t pleasant for the French — Fort Caroline was captured and surviving soldiers massacred by Pedro Menendez and his men.
Photo credits: © 2011 Historic City News contributed file photograph