France Antarctique

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Map of France Antarctique in the Guanabara Bay, 1555 Rio 1555 Franca Antartica.jpg
Map of France Antarctique in the Guanabara Bay, 1555

France Antarctique (formerly also spelled France antartique) was a French colony south of the Equator, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which existed between 1555 and 1567, and had control over the coast from Rio de Janeiro to Cabo Frio. The colony quickly became a haven for the Huguenots, and was ultimately destroyed by the Portuguese in 1567.

Kingdom of France kingdom in Western Europe from 843 to 1791

The Kingdom of France was a medieval and early modern monarchy in Western Europe. It was among the most powerful states in Europe and a great power since the Late Middle Ages and the Hundred Years' War. It was also an early colonial power, with possessions around the world.

Colony Territory under the political control of an overseas state, generally with its own subordinate colonial government

In history, a colony is a territory under the immediate complete political control and occupied by settlers of a state, distinct from the home territory of the sovereign. For colonies in antiquity, city-states would often found their own colonies. Some colonies were historically countries, while others were territories without definite statehood from their inception.

Equator Intersection of a spheres surface with the plane perpendicular to the spheres axis of rotation and midway between the poles

The equator of a rotating spheroid is the parallel at which latitude is defined to be 0°. It is the imaginary line on the spheroid, equidistant from its poles, dividing it into northern and southern hemispheres. In other words, it is the intersection of the spheroid with the plane perpendicular to its axis of rotation and midway between its geographical poles.


Colonization attempt

Europeans first arrived in Brazil in April 1500, when a fleet commanded by Pedro Álvares Cabral on behalf of the Portuguese crown arrived in present-day Porto Seguro, Bahia. Except for Salvador (the first Brazilian capital city) and São Vicente (the first Portuguese settlement), however, the territory still remained largely unexplored half a century later.

Pedro Álvares Cabral Portuguese explorer

Pedro Álvares Cabral was a Portuguese nobleman, military commander, navigator and explorer regarded as the European discoverer of Brazil. In 1500 Cabral conducted the first substantial exploration of the northeast coast of South America and claimed it for Portugal. While details of Cabral's early life remain unclear, it is known that he came from a minor noble family and received a good education. He was appointed to head an expedition to India in 1500, following Vasco da Gama's newly-opened route around Africa. The undertaking had the aim of returning with valuable spices and of establishing trade relations in India—bypassing the monopoly on the spice trade then in the hands of Arab, Turkish and Italian merchants. Although the previous expedition of Vasco da Gama to India, on its sea route, had recorded signs of land west of the southern Atlantic Ocean, Cabral led the first known expedition to have touched four continents: Europe, Africa, America, and Asia.

Kingdom of Portugal kingdom in Southwestern Europe between 1139 and 1910

The Kingdom of Portugal was a monarchy on the Iberian Peninsula and the predecessor of modern Portugal. It was in existence from 1139 until 1910. After 1415, it was also known as the Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves, and between 1815 and 1822, it was known as the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves. The name is also often applied to the Portuguese Empire, the realm's extensive overseas colonies.

Porto Seguro Place in Nordeste, Brazil

Porto Seguro is a city located in the far south of Bahia, Brazil. The city has an estimated population of 145,431 (2015), covers 2,287 square kilometres (883 sq mi), and has a population density of 52.7 residents per square kilometer. The area that includes Porto Seguro and neighboring Santa Cruz Cabrália and Prado holds a distinctive place in Brazilian history: in 1500 it was the first landing point of Portuguese navigators, principally Pedro Álvares Cabral. The crime rate is considered high, as is the case in all Bahia State

Early French involvement with Brazil

At the royal entry of Henry II in Rouen, 1 October 1550, about fifty naked men were employed to illustrate life in Brazil and a battle between the Tupinamba allies of the French, and the Tabajara Indians. Brazilian ball for Henry II in Rouen October 1 1550.jpg
At the royal entry of Henry II in Rouen, 1 October 1550, about fifty naked men were employed to illustrate life in Brazil and a battle between the Tupinambá allies of the French, and the Tabajara Indians.

Early expeditions of French Norman sailors to the New World have been suggested: Jean Cousin has been said to have discovered the New World in 1488, four years before Christopher Columbus, when he landed in Brazil around the mouth of the Amazon, but this remains unproven. [1] His travels were succeeded by that of Binot Paulmier de Gonneville in 1504 onboard L'Espoir, which was properly recorded and brought back a Native American person named Essomericq. [1] Gonneville affirmed that when he visited Brazil, French traders from Saint-Malo and Dieppe had already been trading there for several years. [2]

Normandy Administrative region of France

Normandy is the northwesternmost of the 18 regions of France, roughly referring to the historical Duchy of Normandy.

Jean Cousin (navigator) 15th-century French Normand navigator who was said to have discovered the New World

Jean Cousin, also Jehan Cousin, was a 15th-century French Normand navigator who was said to have discovered the New World in 1488, four years before Christopher Columbus, when he landed in Brazil around the mouth of the Amazon. One of his captains was named Alonzo Pinzón, who left Cousin in a dispute after their return to Dieppe, and who is claimed to have left for Spain from where he advised Columbus on his westward sail. Pinzon is known to have displayed a remarkable confidence in guiding Columbus in his discovery of the New World. No indisputable written records remain however to support Cousin's claim to discovery.

New World Collectively, the Americas and Oceania

The New World is one of the names used for the majority of Earth's Western Hemisphere, specifically the Americas, and Oceania. The term originated in the early 16th century after Europeans made landfall in what would later be called the Americas in the Age of Discovery, expanding the geographical horizon of classical geographers, who had thought of the world as consisting of Africa, Europe, and Asia, collectively now referred to as the Old World. The phrase gained prominence after the publication of a pamphlet titled Mundus Novus attributed to Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci. The Americas were also referred to as the "fourth part of the world".

France continued to trade with Portugal, especially loading Brazilwood (Pau-Brasil), for its use as a red dye for textiles. [3] In 1550, in the royal entry for Henry II of France, at Rouen, about fifty men depicted naked Indians and a battle between the Tupinamba allies of the French, and the Tabajaras Indians. [3]

Royal entry Ceremonies accompanying a formal entry by a ruler into a city

The Royal Entry, also known by various names, including Triumphal Entry, Joyous Entry, consisted of the ceremonies and festivities accompanying a formal entry by a ruler or his representative into a city in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period in Europe. The entry centred on a procession carrying the entering prince into the city, where he was greeted and paid appropriate homage by the civic authorities. A feast and other celebrations would follow.

Henry II of France King of France

Henry II was King of France from 31 March 1547 until his death in 1559. The second son of Francis I, he became Dauphin of France upon the death of his elder brother Francis III, Duke of Brittany, in 1536.

Rouen Prefecture and commune in Normandy, France

Rouen is a city on the River Seine in the north of France. It is the capital of the region of Normandy. Formerly one of the largest and most prosperous cities of medieval Europe, Rouen was the seat of the Exchequer of Normandy during the Middle Ages. It was one of the capitals of the Anglo-Norman dynasties, which ruled both England and large parts of modern France from the 11th to the 15th centuries.


Nicolas de Villegaignon Nicolas de Villegagnon.jpg
Nicolas de Villegaignon

On November 1, 1555, French vice-admiral Nicolas Durand de Villegaignon (1510–1575), a Catholic knight of the Order of Malta, who later would help the Huguenots to find a refuge against persecution, led a small fleet of two ships and 600 soldiers and colonists, and took possession of the small island of Serigipe in the Guanabara Bay, in front of present-day Rio de Janeiro, where they built a fort named Fort Coligny. The fort was named in honor of Gaspard de Coligny (then a Catholic statesman, that about a year later would become a Huguenot), an admiral who supported the expedition and would later use the colony in order to protect his Reformed co-religionists.

Nicolas Durand de Villegaignon French admiral

Nicolas Durand, sieur de Villegaignon, also Villegagnon was a Commander of the Knights of Malta, and later a French naval officer who attempted to help the Huguenots in France escape persecution.

Huguenots Religious group composed of Calvinists from France

Huguenots were a religious group of French Protestants.

Guanabara Bay oceanic bay located in Southeast Brazil

Guanabara Bay is an oceanic bay located in Southeast Brazil in the state of Rio de Janeiro. On its western shore lies the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Duque de Caxias, and on its eastern shore the cities of Niterói and São Gonçalo. Four other municipalities surround the bay's shores. Guanabara Bay is the second largest bay in area in Brazil, at 412 square kilometres (159 sq mi), with a perimeter of 143 kilometres (89 mi).

To the still largely undeveloped mainland village, Villegaignon gave the name of Henriville, in honour of Henry II, the King of France, who also knew of and approved the expedition, and had provided the fleet for the trip. Villegaignon secured his position by making an alliance with the Tamoio and Tupinambá Indians of the region, who were fighting the Portuguese.

Tupinambá people

The Tupinambá were one of the various Tupi ethnic groups that inhabited present-day Brazil before the conquest of the region by Portuguese colonial settlers. The Tupinambás lived in São Luis, Maranhão. Their language survives today in the form of Nheengatu.

1557 Calvinist arrival

"Salutations larmoyantes" ("Tearful salutations"), in Histoire d'un voyage faict en la terre du Bresil (1578), Jean de Lery, 1580 edition Tearful salutations in Histoire d un voyage fait au Bresil 1580.jpg
"Salutations larmoyantes" ("Tearful salutations"), in Histoire d'un voyage faict en la terre du Brésil (1578), Jean de Léry, 1580 edition

Unchallenged by the Portuguese, who initially took little notice of his landing, Villegaignon endeavoured to expand the colony by calling for more colonists in 1556. He sent one of his ships, the Grande Roberge, to Honfleur, entrusted with letters to King Henry II, Gaspard de Coligny and according to some accounts, the Protestant leader John Calvin.

After one ship was sent to France to ask for additional support, three ships were financed and prepared by the king of France and put under the command of Sieur De Bois le Comte, a nephew of Villegaignon. [4] They were joined by 14 Calvinists from Geneva, led by Philippe de Corguilleray, including theologians Pierre Richier and Guillaume Chartrier. [4] The new colonists, numbering around 300, included 5 young women to be wed, 10 boys to be trained as translators, as well as 14 Calvinists sent by Calvin, and also Jean de Léry, who would later write an account of the colony. [3] They arrived in March 1557. [3] The relief fleet was composed of:

Doctrinal disputes arose between Villegaignon and the Calvinists, especially in relation to the Eucharist, and in October 1557 the Calvinists were banished from Coligny island as a result. [3] They settled among the Tupinamba until January 1558, when some of them managed to return to France by ship together with Jean de Léry, and five others chose to return to Coligny island where three of them were drowned by Villegaignon for refusing to recant. [3]

Portuguese intervention

The Island of Villegaignon under Portuguese attack (1560) Serigipe 1560 Forte Coligny.jpg
The Island of Villegaignon under Portuguese attack (1560)

In 1560 Mem de Sá, the new Governor-General of Brazil, received from the Portuguese government the command to expel the French. With a fleet of 26 warships and 2,000 soldiers, on 15 March 1560, he attacked and destroyed Fort Coligny within three days, but was unable to drive off their inhabitants and defenders, because they escaped to the mainland with the help of the Native Brazilians, where they continued to live and to work. [5] Admiral Villegaignon had returned to France in 1558, disgusted with the religious tension that existed between French Protestants and Catholics, who had come also with the second group (see French Wars of Religion).

Urged by two influential Jesuit priests who had come to Brazil with Mem de Sá, named José de Anchieta and Manuel da Nóbrega, and who had played a big role in pacifying the Tamoios, Mem de Sá ordered his nephew, Estácio de Sá to assemble a new attack force. Estácio de Sá founded the city of Rio de Janeiro on March 1, 1565, and fought the Frenchmen for two more years. Helped by a military reinforcement sent by his uncle, on January 20, 1567, he imposed final defeat on the French forces and decisively expelled them from Brazil, but died a month later from wounds inflicted in the battle. Coligny's and Villegaignon's dream had lasted a mere 12 years.

Largely in response to the two attempts of France to conquer territory in Brazil (the other one was named France Équinoxiale and occupied present-day São Luís, state of Maranhão), between 1612 and 1615, the Portuguese crown decided to expand its colonization efforts in Brazil.


Capture of Rio de Janeiro by Duguay-Trouin in 1711 Entree de l'escadre francaise de Duguay-Trouin dans la baie de Rio en 1711.jpg
Capture of Rio de Janeiro by Duguay-Trouin in 1711

Other projects were made for the occupation of parts of Brazil in 1579, following the death of Sebastian of Portugal at the Battle of Alcácer Quibir, and also in 1582 under Admiral Filippo di Piero Strozzi, cousin of Catherine de Médicis. During that period the crowns of Spain and Portugal were united under the same king, the Dutch attacked and captured Salvador de Bahia and the island of Fernando de Noronha, but a Portuguese-Spanish fleet very soon recovered those cities.

In the 17th century, France again briefly established a colony in Brazil with the establishment of France Equinoxiale.

On 21 September 1711, in the 11-day Battle of Rio de Janeiro, René Duguay-Trouin captured Rio de Janeiro, then believed impregnable, with twelve ships and 6,000 men, in spite of the defence consisting of seven ships of the line, five forts and 12,000 men; he held the governor for ransom. Investors in this venture doubled their money, and Duguay-Trouin earned a promotion to Lieutenant général de la Marine.

See also

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  1. 1 2 A savage mirror: power, identity, and knowledge in early modern France Michael Wintroub p.21
  2. Orientalism in early Modern France 2008 Ina Baghdiantz McAbe, p.72, ISBN   978-1-84520-374-0
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 France and the Americas: culture, politics, and history Volume 3, By Bill Marshall, Cristina Johnston p.185ff
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 History of a voyage to the land of Brazil, otherwise called America by Jean de Léry, p.5ff
  5. David Marley (2008). Wars of the Americas: A Chronology of Armed Conflict in the Western Hemisphere, 1492 to the Present. ABC-CLIO. p. 90. ISBN   978-1-59884-100-8 . Retrieved 19 May 2013.

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French colonization of the Americas part of Frances colonial empire

The French colonization of the Americas began in the 16th century, and continued on into the following centuries as France established a colonial empire in the Western Hemisphere. France founded colonies in much of eastern North America, on a number of Caribbean islands, and in South America. Most colonies were developed to export products such as fish, rice, sugar, and furs.

Niterói Municipality in Southeast, Brazil

Niterói is a municipality of the state of Rio de Janeiro in the southeast region of Brazil. It lies across Guanabara Bay facing the city of Rio de Janeiro and forms part of the Rio de Janeiro Metropolitan Area. It was the state capital, as marked by its golden mural crown, from 1834 to 1894 and again from 1903 to 1975. It has an estimated population of 511,786 inhabitants (2018) and an area of 129.375 km (80.39 mi), making it the fifth most populous city in the state. It has the highest Human Development Index of the state and the seventh largest among Brazil's municipalities in 2010. Individually, it is the second municipality with the highest average monthly household income per capita in Brazil and appears in 13th place among the municipalities of the country according to social indicators related to education. The city has the nicknames of Nikity, Nicki City and the Smile City (Cidade Sorriso).

Gaspard II de Coligny French nobleman and admiral and Huguenot leader

Gaspard de Coligny, Seigneur de Châtillon was a French nobleman and admiral, best remembered as a disciplined Huguenot leader in the French Wars of Religion and a close friend and advisor to King Charles IX of France.

Mem de Sá was a Governor-General of the Portuguese colony of Brazil from 1557-1572. He was born in Coimbra, Kingdom of Portugal, around 1500, the year of discovery of Brazil by a naval fleet commanded by Pedro Álvares Cabral.

Equinoctial France was the contemporary name given to the colonization efforts of France in the 17th century in South America, around the line of Equator, before "tropical" had fully gained its modern meaning: Equinoctial means in Latin "of equal nights", i.e., on the Equator, where the duration of days and nights is nearly the same year round. The settlement was made in what is now known as the Bay of São Luis and lasted for 3 years.

Fort Coligny

Fort Coligny was a fortress founded by Nicolas Durand de Villegaignon in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1555, in what constituted the so-called France Antarctique historical episode.

Coligny may refer to:

Estácio de Sá Portuguese soldier

Estácio de Sá was a Portuguese soldier and officer. Sá travelled to the colony of Brazil on the orders of the Portuguese crown to wage war on the French colonists commanded by Nicolas Durand de Villegaignon. These French colonists had established themselves in 1555 at Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro, in a settlement known as France Antarctique. He was the founder of Rio de Janeiro, now the second largest city in Brazil.


Cunhambebe was an aboriginal Indian chieftain of the Tupinambá tribe, which dominated the region between present-day Cabo Frio and Bertioga. He lived in a village in Iperoig.

Villegagnon Island island in Brazil

Villegagnon Island is located near the mouth of the large Guanabara Bay, in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Jean de Léry French cleric and explorer

Jean de Léry (1536–1613) was an explorer, writer and Reformed pastor born in Lamargelle, Côte-d'Or, France. Scholars disagree about whether he was a member of the lesser nobility or merely a shoemaker. Either way, he was not a public figure prior to accompanying a small group of fellow Protestants to their new colony on an island in the Bay of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The colony, France Antarctique was founded by the Chevalier de Villegaignon, with promises of religious freedom, but on arrival, the Chevalier contested the Protestants' beliefs and persecuted them. After eight months the Protestants left their colony and survived for a short time on the mainland, living amongst the Tupinamba Indians. These events were the basis of de Lery's book, History of a Voyage to the Land of Brazil, Also Called America (1578). Exhausted and starving, they then returned to France aboard a pirate ship.

History of Rio de Janeiro aspect of history

Several years after the Portuguese first explored Brazil, French traders in search of pau-brasil reached the rich area extending from the Cape Frio coast to the beaches and islands of Guanabara Bay, the economic and, above all, strategic importance of which was already well-known.

Philippe de Corguilleray French explorer

Philippe de Corguilleray, Sieur du Pont, was a Burgundian nobleman who is known for leading a group of Calvinist men from Geneva to the French colony of France Antarctique in Brazil in 1556. The contingent he led included writer Jean de Léry.

Jean de Cointac, also Contat or Cointa, was a former French Dominican friar who was one of the voyagers attempting the French colonization of Brazil called France Antarctique. His theological theories brought him into conflict in the French fort of Coligny, resulting in two Huguenots being expelled. Later on, Jean de Cointac himself was expelled from the fort.

Battle of Rio de Janeiro (1558)

The Battle of Rio de Janeiro was a battle in 1558 on the French town at Rio de Janeiro, called Henriville. The Portuguese, though in far smaller numbers, defeated the French and made them flee to the jungle. The French town was then burnt by Mem de Sá, the Portuguese governor.

1555 in France

Events from the year 1555 in France.

Guillaume Chartier was a Calvinist theologian and Protestant pastor from Geneva, active between 1555 and 1560.

<i>History of a Voyage to the Land of Brazil</i>

History of a Voyage to the Land of Brazil, Also Called America, is an account published by the French Huguenot Jean de Léry in 1578 about his experiences living in a Calvinist colony in the Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After the colony dissolved, De Léry spent two months living with the Tupinambá Indians.