A good example of Jacque Le Moyne’s iconic map of Florida originally published in the second volume of the Grand Voyages by Theodore de Bry. ‘In 1562 one of the most influential Huguenots in France, Admiral Gaspard de Coligny, sent Jean Ribaut a highly talented navigator to Florida on the first voyage. He like the rest of the crew were of the same religious persuasion. They landed at the St. John’s River and named it River May, F.Maij, because they arrived on the first of that month. They sailed north along the coast and upon reaching a large bay that they named Portus Regalis, they then proceeded to build a fort called Charlefort. This is the first mention on a printed map of Port Royal, unless one considers the Hondius-Le Clerc map of 1589 . Ribaut returned to France to bring further supplies, and left about thirty men to hold the fort. However, upon his return he found France was in the middle of a religious civil war. He took part in the struggle and then had to flee to England. Whilst there he became involved in a political plot and was imprisoned. In Florida, meanwhile there had been a mutiny and an attempt by the colonists to make it back to Europe. Building a small craft of their own they would have perished at sea had they not been picked up by an English ship in July 1563.
In 1564, with the restoration of peace in France, Coligny sent out a second expedition. With Ribaut in prison he sent René de Laudonnière, who had been on the first voyage. Also present was Jacques le Moyne, sent to record and map as much as possible. This time they settled on the River May and built Carolina on the south bank. Laudonnière proved to be a poor leader and was soon replaced by the arrival of Ribaut who, released from prison, had been sent by Coligny to take control. Shortly after the Spanish, having heard of the French presence arrived to destroy the settlement and kill all the ‘heretics’. Among the few survivors were Laudonnière and le Moyne. Having left in a hurry and spending a number of days in the swamp and forest, it is unlikely that any of le Moyne’s original work survived with him.
Le Moyne reached England where he must have proceeded to draw from his memory. He spent the rest of his life in London. De Bry travelled there about 1587 and tried to purchase these drawings, to no avail. The following year, however, le Moyne died and he bought them from his widow. The manuscript map (if there was one) has not survived and only one watercolour exists, that being in the New York Public Library.
Despite the fact that this map was not very accurate its influence was considerable. This is mainly because Hondius used it for his map of the area in 1606, the atlas in which it occurred was Mercator’s and his fame was enough to prolong its authority until the Blaeu VIRGINIÆ partis australis, c.1638. Latitudinally it was fairly accurate but as always it was the longitude that was incorrect. This led to a vastly extended eastward slant of the coastline. Most of the information on the map is derived from Indian sources and not French ones. Much of the nomenclature did not survive the arrival of the English, with the obvious exceptions of Port Royal and Prom. Cānaueral. The later colonies of Carolina were named after King Charles II of England, its presence here was purely coincidental. Several lakes are shown including what is thought to be a representation of the sea of Verrazzano, an apocryphal route through to Asia. However, with the nearby presence of a large waterfall, many believing it to represent Indian tales of Niagara Falls, it could in fact be the Great Lakes’ (Burden).
References: Alexander (1976) pp. 12-59 (illustrating most of the plates in the de Bry)/ Church (1907) nos. 145-7 & 179-80/ Cumming (1938) pp. 476-92/ Cumming (1962) no. 14, and pp. 12-13/ Cumming (1963) pp. 27-40 (a manuscript map contemporary with the period)/ Cumming, Skelton & Quinn (1972) pp. 154-71 & 181-92/ Faupel (1990) pp. 33-6/ Fite and Freeman (1926) pp. 68-70/ Garratt (1979) p. 5 G2/ Lorant (1946) pp. 4-119/ Lowery (1905?)/ Sabin (1868) no. 8784/ Schwartz and Ehrenberg (1980) pp. 64-7.