René de Laudonnière
Theodor de Bry, 1528 - 1598
Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues, c. 1533 - 1588
René de Laudonnière, c. 1529 - 1582
Atore, active 16th century
Engraving on paper
Sheet: 31.8 x 23.5 cm (12 1/2 x 9 1/4")
Mat: 55.9 x 40.6cm (22 x 16")
Nature & Environment\Fruit
René de Laudonnière: Male
René de Laudonnière: Natural Resource Occupations\Explorer
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
The French explorer René Goulaine de Laudonnière (right; c. 1529–1574) first voyaged to the New World in 1562 as part of a colonial expedition led by Jean Ribault (1520–1565). At the mouth of the St. Johns River (modern-day Jacksonville, Florida), Ribault erected a stone column carved with the French royal arms and claimed it as French territory. When Laudonnière returned to Florida in 1564, he found local Indians worshipping the column and bestowing it with valuable offerings under the direction of Athore (left; life dates unknown), son of the Timucua chief Saturiwa. Encouraged, Laudonnière established Fort Caroline nearby.
Disaster struck when desperately needed provisions from France were delayed and many colonists deserted or turned to piracy. In August 1565, Ribault arrived to relieve Laudonnière as governor and assume command of Fort Caroline, but he and most of his men were massacred by Spanish troops the following month.