Eugene Lyon


In September 1565, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés of Spain sought out and attacked the Huguenot French in their Florida settlement. When his victory was won, a number of men, women, and children had become captives of the Spanish, while at least two Spaniards were prisoners in the hands of the French. Some of these people possessed noble blood; most were common sailors and soldiers. A few gained a degree of notoriety from their experiences– at least one of the captives was received at the court of Philip II of Spain, while another appeared before the Queen Mother of France. While some lived to return to their native lands, for many their capture led only to hard labor, prolonged imprisonment, or death. Why had these men, women, and children become prisoners?