Eugene Lyon


Knowledge of Florida history tends to cluster around certain key events. Thus, the Spanish colonial period is marked by the Ponce de León and De Soto landings, the Drake raid of 1586, and the building of the Castillo de San Marcos. Interpretation of the first successful settlement of Florida by Pedro Menéndez de Avilés is centered upon the diplomatic and military drama culminating at Fort Caroline and at Matanzas. Woodbury Lowery and Henry Folmer have shown the Spanish-French clash of 1565 in its international setting. The spiritual aspect of the Menéndez conquest has been developed by a host of historians: Felix Zubillaga, Michael Kenney, Clifford Lewis, Albert Loomie, and Michael Gannon. Some information about the founder of Florida has been contributed by the Asturian writers, Eugenio Ruidiaz y Caravía and Ciriaco Miguel Vigil. The modern reproduction of the Barrientos, Barcia, Solís de Merás, and Mendoza Grajales narratives, as well as the works of Jean Ribault, Rene de Laudonnière, and Dominique Gorgues, has added depth to our knowledge of the Menéndez years. The picture, however, remains incomplete.