The initial 200 French inhabitants of Fort Caroline were reinforced in 1865 by further settlers and several hundred soldiers, after a fleet of four ships led by French explorer Jean Ribault arrived. But just days after Ribault’s appearance, a new Spanish governor, Don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, also reached Florida. And his orders were to destroy the French fort.
The Spanish and French fleets subsequently entered into a short battle. But the Spanish soon disengaged and, pursued by the French, escaped to land at the site of the future Fort St Augustine. Ribault and his French ships were not so lucky, however. They encountered a powerful storm that sank many of the vessels and grounded the others, with many hands drowned.