What was the first settlement in North America? Was it Jamestown or Plymouth? Actually, it was Fort Caroline at Saint John's River in Florida. It was founded this day, June 30, 1564, by the French Protestants, known as Huguenots, and was the first attempt at religious toleration in America. A settler recorded: "We sang a psalm of Thanksgiving unto God, beseeching Him that it would please Him to continue His accustomed goodness towards us." Unfortunately, the French colony was short-lived. The Spanish, whose treasure ships passed that route, destroyed it, butchering hundreds of men, and taking captive the women and children.