444 Years: The Massacre of the Huguenot Christians in America

Discussion in 'Church History' started by VirginiaHuguenot, Jul 6, 2008.

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  1. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

  2. InevitablyReformed

    InevitablyReformed Puritan Board Freshman


    I love the history of our people (the people of God). This was something I had never heard before. Stories about men and women being murdered for their faith shows the power of the Almighty as he remains with them in the face of evil.

    Praise our God! He never forsakes us.
  3. Gryphonette

    Gryphonette Moderator

    Wow! That was fascinating. I'd no idea about that. Thanks for pointing it out.
  4. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    You're very welcome!

    Amen! And being from South Carolina, you may be interested to know that the first Protestant colony in America was that which was settled in South Carolina at Charlesfort by the French Huguenots in 1562 (it preceded the French Huguenot colony of Fort Caroline by 2 years).

    For more info, you can read here:

  5. SolaGratia

    SolaGratia Puritan Board Junior

    "However, when Menéndez then demanded that they give up their Protestant faith and accept Catholicism, they refused."

    It was because they were Protestant that they were murdered. They were not murdered because they were French. Therefore, Catholicism did the massacred.
  6. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Wow, we Americans don't usually associate our history with large scale massacres for religion. Fascinating and sobering.
  7. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    Yes, Menéndez is famous for having the following words inscribed above the bodies of those hung at Fort Caroline: "Not as Frenchmen, but as Lutherans."


    Among the hundreds of people that he executed, the most famous was Jean Ribault, French naval commander. He died with a psalm on his lips as noted here:


    Among the survivors of the massacre was Jacques Le Moyne, the first European to paint portraits of American Indians:

    Jacques Le Moyne - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The first Christian wedding in North America also took place between one of the survivors, Ernst d'Erlach, a French Huguenot nobleman, and the Indian Princess Issena:

  8. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    I've read that the origin of the word "Buccaneer" was for French Protestant pirates, who were often particularly blood thirsty. French Protestants were often given Letters of Mark which allowed them to attack Spanish shipping, and the French Crown's cut of the spoils made the business very lucrative.

    The location of the French colony was chosen to facilitate attacks on Spanish shipping, and the Spanish didn't have much choice in the matter of destroying the French threat, and they wouldn't have even if the territory at the time wasn't legally Spanish, which I believe it was.

    Still, hanging all those people who didn't bear arms was another blot on Spanish honor.

    The only French Protestant colony culture that succeeded, to my knowledge, was in South Africa, where a few hundred were sent by the Dutch to develop agriculture. Afrikaners don't speak French anymore (it died out after a couple generations) but they are still proud of their French heritage, and when the largest tunnel in the Southern hemisphere was build, they naturally named it the Huguenot Tunnel.
  9. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    There were indeed French Huguenot pirates (and privateers, ie., those credentialed with letters of marque), as there were Dutch and English Protestant pirates and privateers (John Hawkins was one English privateer who played an important role in the French Huguenot colony of Fort Caroline, and later Francis Drake at St. Augustine), and Spanish and Portuguese Roman Catholic pirates and privateers. In our era, we have Ulster Protestant and Roman Catholic terrorists and others who fly the flag of religion for baser purposes, as well as those who genuinely fight for religious principles. The European conflict of the 16th and 17th centuries was certainly transferred to Latin America and elsewhere as a proxy war, and the conflict continues in some places.


    There was no honor in what the Spanish did at Fort Caroline. Those who have read the accounts of Menéndez, René Goulaine de Laudonnière and others (chronicled ably by Charles Bennett) can only conclude that the *primary* motive of Menéndez was to exterminate Protestantism in La Florida. The actual financial threat to Spanish treasure fleets of Latin America from Fort Caroline was minimal. Those Frenchmen from Fort Caroline who attempted to attack the Spanish were treasure-seeking renegades who had mutinied against Laudonnière and were later executed by him when they returned to the colony. Laudonnière's goal was to create a self-sustaining colony, not a pirate haven, that would promote the welfare of French Protestants and the claims of the French crown in the New World. The legality of the settlement was very much up for grabs in that Spanish claims to Florida were premised on Juan Ponce de León's discovery and Tristán de Luna y Arellano's abandoned colony; whereas, Laudonnière's colony, while brief, was never abandoned (unlike Charlesfort) but rather terminated by Spanish violence. The French and Indians did experience conflict when food supplies ran low, but mostly worked together well and it was a tremendous grief to the Indians when the Spanish gained the upper hand. They assisted the revenge attack in 1568 by Domingue de Gourgues upon San Mateo (the renamed Fort Caroline) (which was a stain upon the French honor he aimed to uphold) who hung the Spanish troops stationed there and placed an inscription over their bodies: "Not as Spaniards but as murderers." One Indian princess married a French Huguenot, as before mentioned, and it is said that the Indians sang French psalms long after the French were no longer seen on Florida shores.

    This is because of the horrible atrocities carried out by the Spanish not only against the French, but also against Indians and anyone else in their way.

    Here is a previous thread on Huguenot South Africa:


    As I have argued previously, French Huguenot refugees typically (if not massacred by the Spanish in Florida or the Portuguese in Brazil) assimilated into the prevailing culture, which was both a strength and a weakness (ensuring survival of the people and their contributions while sacrificing their particular French Huguenot identity). But it would be a mistake to assume that only the French Huguenots of South Africa kept their identity long term. One of the oldest, if not the oldest, continuous European colonial hegemonies in America is the French Huguenot settlement of New Paltz, New York, which claims the title of the "oldest continuously inhabited street in America": Huguenot Street. There remain several French Huguenot churches still in use today in the United States and Germany, and while the colonies built around them have clearly been assimilated, French Huguenots have kept their religious institutions as standing witnesses to their legacy, and their contributions to the Dutch Reformed legacy in America and the Netherlands are quite significant. They left a fingerprint all around the world that is still evident for those who know where to look.
  10. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

  11. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

  12. sastark

    sastark Puritan Board Graduate


    Do you know if there is any truth to this claim from the NY Times article you linked:

    (emphasis added)
  13. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    With respect to the Quakers, I suppose he is referring to the so-called group of four "Boston Martyrs" who were executed in 1659-1661. They and other Quakers were banished, but these returned after being banished and were then executed.

    Boston martyrs - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  14. TsonMariytho

    TsonMariytho Puritan Board Freshman

    Not saying you're saying this... but the disobedience of the banishment doesn't justify the executions. The fundamental grounds of these men's execution was their religious belief and practice.

    -----Added 12/9/2008 at 12:08:20 EST-----

    A similar case in Reformed history is the execution of Felix Manz in Zurich under the prosecution of Zwingli. In that case, the city had declared that any baptizing [outside their authority] was punishable by death. Manz's banishment was really just an indefinite stay of his execution for religious belief and practice -- the terms of which he subsequently violated, and was therefore executed.

    -----Added 12/9/2008 at 12:24:32 EST-----

    Here's Phillip Schaff from his History of the Christian Church on the Zurich Protestant-driven persecutions. But his words could apply equally to Reformed churches thriving in Florida today, populated by the ideological heirs of the Huguenots.

    The blood of martyrs is never shed in vain. The Anabaptist movement was defeated, but not destroyed; it revived among the Mennonites, the Baptists in England and America, and more recently in isolated congregations on the Continent. The questions of the subjects and mode of baptism still divide Baptist and Pedobaptist churches, but the doctrine of the salvation of unbaptized infants is no longer condemned as a heresy; and the principle of religious liberty and separation of Church and State, for which the Swiss and German Anabaptists suffered and died, is making steady progress. Germany and Switzerland have changed their policy, and allow to Baptists, Methodists, and other Dissenters from the state-church that liberty of public worship which was formerly denied them; and the state-churches reap the benefit of being stirred up by them to greater vitality. In England the Baptists are one of the leading bodies of Dissenters, and in the United States the largest denomination next to the Methodists and Roman Catholics.​
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2008
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