Date of Graduation

Spring 2009


Master of Arts in History



Committee Chair

John Chuchiak


Pierre Sanfroy, Florida massacre, French Huguenot, New Spain, inquisition

Subject Categories



This thesis argues that religion is essential when studying the reaction of the Spanish to the influx of foreign trespassers in the New World. Previous scholarship pertaining to the French in the Americas focuses on the motivations of pirates and neglects to consider the Spanish reaction to the foreign invaders. In examining the establishment of a French colony in Florida and the piratical acts of a French pirate fleet in 1570, the Spanish reaction to heresy in the New World becomes apparent—since their actions suggest that they wanted to preserve the religious unity within their overseas empire. For example, after massacring the Florida colonists, Pedro Mendez proclaimed that the settlers were not "hung as Frenchmen, but as Lutherans.” Finally, in the inquisitorial proceedings brought against the captured French pirates, the inquisitors accused the Frenchmen of upholding Lutheran beliefs and performing iconoclastic acts throughout the Yucatn Peninsula. The Frenchmen continually denied the accusations and only under torture did they confess to what the inquisitors believed. Although the inquisitorial proceedings against the capture French pirates appear less severe than the Florida massacre, the events portray how the Spanish under the leadership of Philip II reacted to "Lutheran” threats in the Americas.


© Annie Louise Adams

Campus Only