At the conference, we had the choice between a discussion of a Quebecois family, an introduction to French genealogy blogs and Daniel Rocchi's "Les Cartes normandes des XVIème et XVIIème siècles et la Floride, l'apport des cartes de Verrazane (1529), Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues (1564/1591), Jacques et Pierre de Vaulx (1583/1584 et 1613)". Naturally, we selected the last, for we admire those whose intellectual passion can make them oblivious. Monsieur Rocchi confessed to have prepared his talk originally for the International Conference on the place of French and Francophone Culture in Florida, which was given "as a part of the continuing celebration of the 450th anniversary of French heritage in Florida." We did not mind being among those to hear it on its second run.
Verrazano, a Florentine born in Lyon, mapped much of the eastern coast of North America, and even named what is now New York Santa Margherita Angoulemme to please the French king.
Unfortunately, he was killed and eaten somewhere in the Caribbean.
Gaspard II de Coligny, one of the most important of Huguenot leaders in the sixteenth century, sent Protestant colonists to Brazil. They were removed by the Catholic Portuguese. He also aided in sending Protestants with Laudonniere to found Fort Caroline in Spanish Florida; they were slaughtered by the Catholic Spanish in 1565. A French escapee was Jacques le Moyne de Morgues, painter and mapmaker. Unfortunately, all of his paintings, drawings and maps were burned in the Spanish attack. After a voyage back to Europe that nearly killed him (they got lost), he repainted some of the lost works from memory, opening the door to the creation of fraudulent works attributed to him, and spent his remaining days as a superb botanical artist in London.
The de Vaulx brothers were both pilots from Le Havre. Jacques de Vaulx was one of the Dieppe School of mapmakers, went on a voyage to Brazil, where he visited Fort Coligny, and produced an atlas. He also wrote a treatise on navigation. His younger brother, Pierre, left a single work, a truly exquisite map of the Atlantic Ocean, done in 1613, showing, with much more, Florida.
After all of those luscious images, Monsieur Rocchi left us.
For those who wish to know more on the early French colony in Florida, we recommend Chroniques de la guerre de Floride : Une Saint-Barthélemy au Nouveau Monde (1562-1568) and Le Huguenot et le Sauvage, by Frank Lestringant.
©2015 Anne Morddel