||At first normally homoerotic, the sixteenth-century attempt by French Protestants
to seduce the Timucuan kings of Florida into friendly alliances turned sodomitical.
Commanders of the first three French voyages to Florida, Jean Ribaut and René Laudonnière,
consciously eroticized their goal of assimilating and enculturating the Timucua through
romantic friendships based on gift exchanges with Timucuan men, particularly Timucuan
kings. The French approach to these kings was explicitly one of "allurement" in which
they planned to seduce Timucuan leaders into love and friendship, which might foster
a successful French colony in the region. Observations of Timucuan "sodomites," "hermaphrodites,"
and "idolators" signaled the penetrability of the Timucua who could be seduced and
Christianized through French "allure." The Timucua resisted this seduction, however,
and used their own counterallurement to earn the sympathy of the French leader Laudonnière
instead. The French forged a strong alliance with the Timucuan king Saturiwa against
Spain and their indigenous allies among the Timucua. Published accounts of this alliance,
such as that of Jacques Le Moyne and Theodor de Bry in Americae (The Americas), however,
cast aspersions on Laudonnière?s leadership. They believed his heretical misalliance
with the Timucua had brought on the wrath of God, who unleashed the Spanish upon the
French, killing every Protestant they could find with a vengeance. As if to warn future
Protestant colonizers against repeating this mistake, publisher and artist Theodor
de Bry constructed a visually compelling cautionary tale of a Protestant colony falling
under the spell of an influential and corrupting indigenous culture. In blaming Laudonnière?s
weak leadership and frail faith, de Bry represented this colonial encounter as the
story of Laudonnière?s fateful seduction by King Saturiwa. The French Huguenots explored
and attempted to settle Florida between 1562 and 1565 in three voyages under the patronage
of Huguenot admiral Gaspard de Coligny, the twelve-year-old King Charles IX of France,
and the regent, who was Charles?s mother, Catherine de Médicis. Admiral Coligny convinced
Charles IX and Catherine de Médicis that a Huguenot colony would be a solution to
tensions between French Protestants and Catholics who had become accustomed to battling
each other in the Wars of Religion. Not only would it be an outlet for men 'incapable
of adapting to a peaceful life' who might cause trouble in their communities in France,
but this voluntary exile to a Protestant-dominated colony would also provide a place
for the wealth and numbers of the Huguenot sect, a branch of Calvinist Protestantism.
Coligny, who was seeking alliances with Dutch and English Protestants, also intended
to establish a colony in a militarily 'strategic' location from which to 'cripple
the movement' of Spanish trade and thus limit economic support for its Catholic enterprise.
In the first voyage, captained by Jean Ribaut, friendly negotiations with the Timucua
began successfully. Though this first colony failed and the colonists returned home,
the second voyage, under René Goulain de Laudonnière, who had participated in Ribaut?s
first venture, was reportedly welcomed by the Timucua. Laudonnière and his crew of
predominantly French Protestant soldiers, artisans, and laborers, including the artist
Jacques Le Moyne, established Fort Caroline on land within King Saturiwa?s territory.
The French befriended local Timucuan leaders through exchanges of gifts and negotiations
of a military alliance. Despite a promising start, Fort Caroline?s success was threatened
by hunger and disrupted by mutinies within the year. A delayed third voyage by Ribaut
left the colonists hungry and dependent on their Timucuan allies, some of whom began
to economically exploit the French demand for food. Frustrated, Laudonnière and the
colonists took one Timucuan king, Outina, captive and held him hostage for food. Their
neighbor, King Saturiwa, then provided them with food in hopes of acquiring this captive
king, his enemy, and thus ending his life.