Fun Facts: Those Frenchmen Love their Forts
Arlington was one of the first areas in the United States visited by Europeans; it was the site of the French Fort Caroline, built in 1564-1565. French explorer René Goulaine de Laudonnière, led a contingent of 200 new settlers to Florida. They built Fort Caroline atop a high river vantage point now called “St. Johns Bluff.” But the colony was beset by hunger, Indian attacks, and mutiny. Even so, it looked like an attractive option for the Spanish authorities who considered it a challenge to their control over the area.
Enter the daring Spaniard Don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, who violently evicted the French. The French retreated 35 miles south, where they established the first settlement of St. Augustine. Today, Fort Caroline is a National Memorial park, and a great day trip, no more than 30 minutes from just about any spot in the city.