Colonization and First Settlement
Spain was not alone in wanting to establish a colony in La Florida. One of her rivals, France, also had designs on the Americas, La Florida included. In 1524 the Florentine explorer Giovanni da Verrazano, sailing under the flag of France, had reconnoitered the Atlantic coast from Florida to Cape Breton, providing some basis for French claims of ownership. The expeditions of Luna and Villafañe were in part responses to actual and rumored French excursions. France and Spain both realized that to control La Florida, settlements were needed.
In late 1561 rumors of a French expedition to La Florida reached the Spanish Crown. Jean Ribault was said to have sailed for the Americas to establish a colony.1 Although his actual sailing date was not until early 1562, news of Ribault's expedition and stories of other planned French initiatives prompted the Spanish Crown to approve a new attempt to place a colony in La Florida even as Luna and Villafañe met with failure. Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón, son of the leader of the unsuccessful San Miguel de Gualdape colony, was contracted to found a settlement in the Bahia de Santa Maria, the Spanish name for Chesapeake Bay.
Ayllón had considerable trouble organizing his expedition, and did not sail from Spain until October 1563. But he got no further than Santo Domingo on Hispaniola. Disgruntled participants and financial