Lecture dedicated to Jean Ribault invites Florida to Dieppe, France
Indeed on Saturday May 4, 2013, under the auspices of François Bellec of the Marine Academy, a full day of conferences was dedicated to Jean Ribault, a native of Dieppe who was a Captain and a French explorer that discovered and claimed Floridian territory in the name of France in 1562.
More than 200 people responded to the invitation of “Terres et Mers d’Ivoire” in Dieppe to get an answer to the historical, historiographical and geographical questions that surrounded the famed explorer.
“Terres et Mers d’Ivoire”, an association made up of historians, researches, professors and even journalists who are entirely dedicated to the history of Dieppe organized with the help of sponsors such as the City of Dieppe, a conference dedicated to the explorer and navigator Jean Ribault, a figure under the spotlight since last year as an important part of Floridian history.
This conference in Dieppe as well as the exhibition that took place in La Rochelle, reinforce the importance of 450th years of French presence in Florida.
It was not far from the Column that stoods by Dieppe’s Castle Museum, a replica of the the stone pillar erected by Jean Ribault in 1562 in Jacksonville first and then in Parris Island in South Carolina, that the conference was held.
Alongside Admiral Bellec, the speaker Hélène Lhoumeau put in perspective the viewpoints of both French and Spaniards had on the New World monitoring closely their respective expeditions.
This is a really interesting concept, especially for us Floridians who live at the time of the Viva Florida 500!
To continue, Mrs. Annick Notter, Curator of the Museum of La Rochelle and organizer of the exhibition “Florida: A French Dream” which opened in September 2012, also shared with the audience the iconographic works of Théodore de Bry, which highlighted the key roles played by the Timucuans Indians at the arrival of the French in Florida.
Iconography was then the subject of a particular segment, delivered by Mrs. Pascale Goutagny who displayed maps of early Florida. She underlined that explorers drawn these 16th century maps with great imagination. French influence could be seen as well with locations and rivers named la Seine or la Loire.
Very often during the day, Florida was named. Philippe Montillet, member of the association of “descendants and souvenirs of Jean Ribault” mentionned the events that took place in Jacksonville on May, 2012 in presence of French personalities, and officials of the city. On that day, two French Schooners, La Belle Poule and L’Etoile were welcomed on the banks of the city not far from where 450 years ago Jean Ribault had landed.
Shortly after, it was John De Bry, Director of the Center for Archeological History of Florida who offered the audience an overview of the various expeditions led by Jean Ribault.
In this overview, he spoke about the loss of Ribault’s vessels and of
the possibility of finding it in Florida.
Several speakers mentioned the light legacy left by Jean Ribault in Dieppe in the written archives as well as the city itself. Indeed, except the replica of the stone pillar erected by Jean Ribault, few objects have been kept in Dieppe from the different expeditions led by Ribault and the other French navigator of the period de Laudonnière and only one street and a pier on the Henri IV wharf have been named after the “famous” inhabitant of Dieppe.
This opens numerous opportunities for researchers and historians!
This first lecture entirely dedicated to Jean Ribault allowed the navigator to go back front page on his own soil. The territory, he “discovered” in 1562 and where he passed away tragically will go on with the organization of many other events tied to his journey and his arrival in Florida. For instance, an international lecture is scheduled February 20-21, 2014. Organized by the Winthrop-King Institute, i twill take place at Florida State University (FSU).
Of course, «Viva Florida 500», which takes place throughout 2013, offers a good exposure to all Floridian heritages. Among them, we find the French Heritage.
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Article published May 8, 2013.