Ft. Caroline National Memorial is a historic site located on the south bank of the St. Johns River, about halfway between Downtown Jacksonville and the Atlantic Ocean. Today, a replica fort stands in the approximate spot where French Huguenots established their base camp in 1564. Previously, Juan Ponce de Leon first came ashore somewhere between present-day Jacksonville and Saint Augustine back in 1513. He declared “La Florida” for the Spanish, but never established a permanent settlement. French Huguenots arrived at the mouth of the St. Johns River in 1562 and set up Ft. Caroline two years later as a base camp. That makes this part of Jacksonville the place where Protestant Christianity first arrived in the New World. Of course, this angered Spain (the Inquisition was going on at the time). In 1565, Spain sent Pedro Menendez to establish St. Augustine to the south, and the Spanish massacred the French. As a result, Florida remained Spanish during most of its Colonial period. In Jacksonville, the name “Ft. Caroline” also applies to the neighborhoods and parks that are located in the general vicinity of the fort, including the areas that border Mill Cove and the Jacksonville Arboretum.
FT. CAROLINE NATIONAL MEMORIAL
FT. CAROLINE AREA & THE JACKSONVILLE ARBORETUM