Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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ISLES, Andre (eel), Chevalier des, French adventurer, born in Dieppe in 1530; died in Florida in 1565. Admiral Coligny, having resolved to secure hinds in America, where the French Protestants could be at liberty to enjoy their religion, gave Des Isles in 1560 two vessels, with orders to discover some convenient locality not occupied by European settlers. Sailing from Dieppe in May, 1560, he was driven by storms on the coast of Florida, and landed in July near a cape, which he named French cape and which is now known as Cape San Juan. He discovered on 5 August the river Rovale, built a fort, and, leaving twenty men to hold it, returned to France. The result of the expedition greatly pleased Admiral Coligny, but religious dissensions prevented him from sending another expedition before 1562, when he appointed Captain Ribaut governor of the proposed colonies, and gave him three ships carrying 600 emigrants. Des Isles accompanied the expedition, and acted as Ribaut's lieutenant. They found the fort destroyed and its garrison dead, but rebuilt it and named it Fort Royal, and Des Isles was left in command of the place with 250 men. Ribaut returned from France in the following year with a re-enforcement of 300 men, but Coligny had appointed a new commander for Fort Royal, the Count of Laudonniere, and his arrival caused trouble. Des Isles, supported by Ribaut, refused to relinquish the fort, and when he was compelled to do so established a new colony at the mouth of Toubachire. Everything prospered at first, but soon hostilities began between the rivals, and when Ribaut returned with re-enforcements in 1565, he found the French reduced to about 125 men. He pacified the captains, and went on an exploration of the coast, but during his absence the Spanish, under Menendez, attacked Fort Royal, and Laudonniere, in spite of the opposition of Des Isles, signed a capitulation, which the Spaniards violated, massacring all the French.
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