Author Thomas Tozer

The official blog of Thomas Tozer, author of "Pierre's Journey to Florida"

Archive for the tag “french”

French Colonization

During the 16th century, the French began major world exploration. The French colonization wasn’t as tumultuous as the Spanish colonization of the southern Americas.

In the 1520s, the king of France sent Giovanni da Verrazano to explore the region between Florida and Newfoundland, specifically looking for a route to the Pacific Ocean. Several colonies were attempted to be established, but often failed due to weather, disease, or conflict.

Cartier attempted to create the first permanent European settlement in North America at Cap-Rouge (Quebec City) in 1541 with 400 settlers but the settlement was abandoned the next year after bad weather and first nations attacks. A small group of French troops were left on Parris Island, South Carolina in 1562 to build Charlesfort, but left after a year when they were not resupplied by France. Fort Carolineestablished in present-day Jacksonville, Florida in 1564, lasted only a year before being destroyed by the Spanish from St. Augustine. An attempt to settle convicts on Sable Island off Nova Scotia in 1598 failed after a short time. In 1599, a sixteen-person trading post was established inTadoussac (in present-day Quebec), of which only five men survived the first winter. In 1604, Saint Croix Island in Acadia was the site of a short-lived French colony, much plagued by illness, perhaps scurvy.

Courtesy of Wikipedia

This shows how much conflict played in the failed attempts at many colonies. It causes one to wonder how things would have changed had one of these conflicts not occurred. Had the Spanish not destroyed Fort Caroline, would peace have been more prominent during this time? Would they have had more peace from the Native Americans?

Even in modern day there is religious conflict. While lessons should be learned from the past, it seems that most of this dramatic events have been forgotten. Peace is important, and the first step to peace is tolerance, whether it be of religion or culture.

Pierre’s Journey to Florida

Pierre’s Journey to Florida is a historical fiction book about Pierre de Bré, a young French Huguenot, and his adventures at the time when European and Native Americans first came into contact with each other.

It is also a story of harsh times in Europe – a time with divisive, indeed tumultuous, religious and political problems, but a time when exploration of the unknown parts of the world was so exciting, romantic, and adventurous.

My motivation for writing this book came from four distinct sources. One was a visit to St. Augustine, Florida, where I became captivated with the early contribution of the French Huguenots to the founding of Florida and the United States.

The second source was knowledge that it is very likely that some of my ancestors on my  mother’s side, by the original name of Hardouin, were Huguenots who came to the United States from France in the late 17th century.

The third was the fact that I spent nearly one and one-half years, in total, in France, teaching courses, attending meetings, spending leisure time, and visiting friends. During these times, I visited most of the places in France mentioned in the book.

Finally, I grew up in an area of California with several Indian reservations and went to school, 1st to 12th grade, with numerous Native Americans, many of whom were friends.

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