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Jacques LeMoyne

Jacques LeMoyne was a French artist who came to Florida with Rene de Laudonniere, a French explorer, in 1564. LeMoyne was the first artist to visit the new world. He traveled through North Florida, charting the coastline and the lives of the Timucua Indians.

When Laudonniere’s group arrived, they found that the Indians were worshiping a stone column emblazoned with the French coat of arms. It was located at the mouth of the St. Johns River. Jean Ribault, a French explorer who had been there two years earlier, had set it up as proof of French possession.

Laudonniere and his party sailed about five miles up the St. Johns River. They established a settlement. Then they built Fort Caroline out of wood and sod.

When the Spanish attacked and burned Fort Caroline, LeMoyne and Laudonniere were two of the French who escaped. Almost all of LeMoyne’s drawings were burned up. The survivors quickly sailed back to France, where LeMoyne redrew the pictures from memory. Jacques LeMoyne died in London in 1588.

An engraver named Theodore DeBry made engravings of the drawings that LeMoyne had made of Florida. In 1591, DeBry published a book with the engravings and LeMoyne’s description of his trip to Florida. For the first time, Europeans could see what life was like in America without sailing across the Atlantic Ocean. We can still learn today about early Florida and how the Timucua lived from DeBry’s engravings of LeMoyne’s drawings and the accompanying descriptions.


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Exploring Florida: A Social Studies Resource for Students and Teachers
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