John Ribault Southeast America and Caribbean
Document by John Ribault. Dated 1562. The True and Last Discouerie of Florida, Made by Captain John Ribault in the yeere 1562. Dedicated to a great noble man of Fraunce, and translated into Englishe by one Thomas Hackit. pp. 91-115 (in) Hakluyt, R. 1582. Diverse Voyages Touching the Discouerie of America and the Islands Adiacent unto the Same, Made First of All by Our Englishmen and Afterwards by the French-men and Britons. And Certaine Notes of Advertisements and Observations, Necessarie for Such as Shall Heereafter Make the Like Attempt. With Two Mappes Annexed Heereunto for the Plainer Understanding of the Whole Matter. London: Thomas Woodcocke. The Hakluyt Society. Series One, Number 7. London: The Hakluyt Society, 1850.
[The Indians] putting us of their fruites, euen into our boates, Mulberies, Raspis, and such other fruites as they founde ready by the way … We enterd [landed] and viewed the countrie thereaboutes, which is the fairest, fruitfullest, and pleasantest of all the world, abounding in hony, venison, wilde foule, forests, woods of all sortes, Palme trees, Cypresse and Cedars, Bayes ye highest and greatest, with also the fayrest vines in all the world, with grapes according, which without natural art and without mans helpe or trimming wil grow to toppes of Okes and other trees that be of a wonderful greatness and height. And the sight of the faire medowes is a pleasure not ablt to be expressed with tongue: full of Hernes, Curlues, Bitters, Mallards, Egrepths [Egrets], woodcocks, and all other kinde of small birds: with Harts, Hindes, Buckes, wilde Swine, and all other kindes of wilde beastes, as we perceiued well … Also, there be Conies and Hares: Silke wormes in merueilous number … About their houses [the Indians] labor and till the grounde, sowing their fieldes with a graine called Mahis, whereof they make their meale: and in their Gardens they plant beanes, gourdes, cucumbers, Citrons, peason, and many other fruites and rootes vnknowen vnto vs … There groweth also many Walnut trees, Hasell trees, Cheritrees, very faire and great…It was not their custome eyther to eate or drinke from the Sunne rising till his going downe: yet the king openly woulde needes drinke with vs …[ later, as we left the Indians were] rowing vnto vs all along the riuer from all parts, and presenting vs with some of their harts-skins, painted and vnpainted, meale, litle cakes, freshe water, rootes like vnto Riunbabe [rhubarb?], which they haue in great estimation, and make thereof a potion of medicine: also they brought little bagges of redde colours, and some small spices like vnto Vire … [continuing on] … Thus being among them, they presented us with meale dressed and baked, very good and wel tasted, and of good nourishmet, also beanes and fish, as crabbes, lobstars, creuises [cray-fish], and many other kinde of good fishes, shewing vs by signes [that] their dwellings were farre off, and if their prouision had been neere hande, they woulde haue presented vs with many other refreshinges (p. 101-108).
This is the lande of Checere [Chicoria a province in Florida, perhaps St. Helens in South Carolina] … The people there liue long and in great health and strength, so that the aged men goe without staues [support], and are able to goe and runne like the youngest of them, who onely are knowen to be olde by the wrinckles in their face, and decay of sight … Wee departed from them verie friendly (p. 108).
[At Port Royall] We founde there a great number of Peppertrees, the Pepper yet greene and not ready to bee gathered: also the best water of the world, and so many sortes of fishes that yee may take them without net or angle so many as ye will. Also an innumerable sort of wilde foule of all sortes (p. 111).