Jean Ribault was a French officer who helped colonize portions of southeastern US. In 1565 Ribault sailed from France with 800 settlers and supplies on five ships to the newly established Fort Caroline (near present-day Jacksonville, Florida). However, Spain maintained claims over Florida and was unhappy about French attempts to colonize in the area. A few days after Ribault arrived in Florida, the Spanish adelantado (governor) of Florida, Pedro Menendez de Aviles, commanded a fleet just south of Fort Caroline and established St. Augustine to prepare for battle with the French. Ribault took to the seas to pursue Menendez, but was caught in a hurricane and shipwrecked just south of St. Augustine, near Matanzas Inlet. Ribault and some of his men survived and surrendered to the Spanish in the hopes of fair treatment. Under the orders of King Philip II of Spain, Menendez executed Ribault and his men, saving only those who were Catholic. This engraving shows Ribault pleading with Menendez to spare his life and those of his crew. In the background can be seen the brutal execution of the French soldiers. On a full sheet of German text measuring 8.4 x 14.1".
This engraving was included in Johann Ludwig Gottfried's Newe Welt und Americanische Historien.., which was a one-volume condensed edition of de Bry's series of voyages. Gottfried was one of de Bry's printers and collaborated on Newe Welt… with Matthaus Merian, who was de Bry's son-in-law and had access to the original plates used by de Bry.