There are no morals in politics; there is only expedience. A scoundrel may be of use to us just because he is a scoundrel. — Vladimir Lenin

Story of the Thirteen Colonies - Helene Guerber

French and Spanish Quarrels

Twenty years passed by before the French again attempted to plant a colony in America—twenty very eventful years for France and for all western Europe. The people, who, as you have heard, had all been Roman Catholics for centuries, now began to divide. Some of them refused to obey the pope, and wanted to worship in a somewhat different way. In France these people were called Huguenots, and among them was a nobleman named Coligny.

Seeing that the Huguenots were much disliked in their own country, Coligny proposed that they should go to the New World and found a colony where they could worship as they pleased without offending any one. As Cartier said the climate was too cold in Canada, Coligny sent the Huguenots farther south, in charge of Laudonniere and Ribault.

The French colonists, landing in the New World, called the country Carolina, in honor of their king, Charles, and they also gave this name to their fort. But they soon lacked food and became discouraged. As the vessel in which they had come had sailed away, they built a new ship and set out for France. At sea, lack of provisions soon brought them to such desperate straits that they drew lots and ate one of their number. In fact, had they not been taken prisoners by an English ship, it is very likely they would all have died of hunger.

Two years later another French settlement of the same name was made in Florida, on the St. Johns River. As soon as the colonists were comfortably settled, Ribault went off to punish some Spaniards for attacking his fleet in time of peace. But while he was away the Spaniards came by land to surprise the Huguenot settlement.

Now, you must know that the Spaniards were ardent Roman Catholics, so they considered it very wicked to refuse to obey the pope. Besides, they hated the French, with whom they had often been at war, and claimed Florida as their own land because Ponce de Leon had visited it first. They were so sure, therefore, that they were doing right by killing the French Huguenots, that when the massacre was all over, their leader Menendez put up a sign on a tree near by, saying that he had slain the colonists, not because they were Frenchmen, but because they were not good Catholics. This done, Menendez went back to the colony of St. Augustine, which he had founded two years before (1565) in Florida. This is the oldest city on the mainland of the United States, and it still proudly bears the name given by Menendez, its Spanish founder.

Old Spanish Mission at St. Augustine

The news of the massacre of the Huguenot colonists was received with great indignation in France. As the king would take no steps to avenge it, a nobleman named De Gourgues fitted out an expedition at his own expense, and attacked the Spaniards on the St. Johns. He came upon them unawares, and killed them all, as they had murdered the Huguenots at the same place. Then he placed a sign above the heads of the men he had hanged, saying they had been executed, not because they were Spaniards, but because they were pirates and murderers. De Gourgues then sailed away, for the Spaniards had so strong a fort at St. Augustine that the French had given up all hope of settling in Florida.

Four years after founding St. Augustine, the Spaniards planted the colony of San Diego in California, which, however, was soon abandoned. Their next colony was started many years later at Santa Fe, in New Mexico, and thence many priests went out to build mission stations in the West and convert the Indians.

The present city of Santa Fe, the oldest town in the western United States, was founded in 1598 by a Spaniard named Ovate, who had married the granddaughter of Cortez, conqueror of Mexico. This Ovate had helped the Spaniards conquer Peru. He was a very brave man, and hearing about the "Sky City "of Acoma, he resolved to visit it. About fifty years after Coronado, therefore, he came within sight of the strange town perched upon a rock.

The Indians, who by this time had learned to fear and hate the Spaniards, thought this would be a good chance to kill their greatest foe. So they invited Ovate up into their city, and showed him their cisterns and granaries. Then, taking him to the top of one of their great houses, they bade him step down through an open trapdoor into a dark chamber.

Ovate, suspecting treachery, refused to enter, and it was well for him that he did so, for a number of armed Indians were lurking there in the darkness, ready to kill the Spaniards as soon as they set foot in the apartment.


Front Matter

Our Country Long Ago
The Barbarous Indians
The Mounds
Where the Northmen Went
The Northmen in America
Queer Ideas
Prince Henry the Navigator
Youth of Columbus
Columbus and the Queen
"Land! Land!"
Columbus and the Savages
Home Again
Columbus Ill-treated
Death of Columbus
How America Got its Name
The Fountain of Youth
"The Father of Waters"
The French in Canada
French and Spanish Quarrels
The Sky City
Around the World
Nothing but Smoke
Smith's Adventures
The Jamestown Men
Smith Wounded
Pocahontas Visits England
Hudson and the Indians
The Mayflower
Plymouth Rock
The First Thanksgiving
Snake Skin and Bullets
The Beginning of Boston
Stories of Two Ministers
Williams and the Indians
The Quakers
The King-Killers
King Phillip's War
The Beginning of New York
Penn and the Indians
The Catholics in Maryland
The Old Dominion
Bacon's Rebellion
A Journey Inland
The Carolina Pirates
Charter Oak
Salem Witches
Down the Mississippi
La Salle's Adventures
Indians on the Warpath
Two Wars with the French
Washington's Boyhood
Washington's Journey
Washington's First Battle
Stories of Franklin
Braddock's Defeat
Wolfe at Quebec
England and her Colonies
The Stamp Tax
The Anger of the Colonies
The Boston Tea Party
The Minutemen
The Battle of Lexington
Bunker Hill
The Boston Boys
The British leave Boston
Declaration of Independence
A Lady's Way of Helping
Christmas Eve
The Fight at Bennington
Burgoyne's Surrender
Winter at Valley Forge
The Quaker Woman
Putnam's Adventures
Indian Cruelty
Boone in Kentucky
Famous Sea Fights
The "Swamp Fox"
The Poor Soldiers
The Spy
A Traitor's Death
Two Unselfish Women
Surrender of Cornwallis
British Flag hauled down
Washington's Farewell