The Ribault Column and the First Protestants in America
|The Ribault Column, and, to the right, an interpretive plaque and|
the beautiful St. Johns River ("Riviere de Mai")
This particular column, of course, is not the original . . . though it would indeed be impressive if a 450- year-old column would look so good! This replica was placed in 1924, and its significance goes far beyond marking the spot where a hearty band of intrepid French explorers came ashore. It represents the beginning of the Protestant faith in America. Before 1562, no Protestants had yet set foot in what would become the United States. One wonders if these men imbued with the spirit of the Reformation even realized the significance of their venture as they stood and watched the first column being heaved into position.
Another plaque on the Ribault Column (there are four) reads: “This is a replica of the marker placed on or near this spot by Jean Ribaut – May first 1562 – In taking possession of Florida for France.” The two plaques with text are decorated by a shield, three small fleur de lis, the French royal coat of arms, a laurel wreath, and a hanging cross with a dove that is likely meant to represent the Huguenot cross. The two other plaques are decorated with seashells, the pattern of three fleur-de-lis that was emblazoned on the medieval French flag, and the royal crown.
(c) 2012 Joyously Saved