Page from the log book of La Belle, dated January 17, 1685, one of only four pages in existence. Found by the Karankawa after they attacked and pillaged the French settlement, Fort St. Louis, the documents were later passed on to a Spanish officer. This page describes the movements of La Belle as she lay off the Texas coast waiting for the ship, Le Joly, as well as communications with the Aimable, and crewmembers' voyage by longboat to search for fresh water. How this page and three others from the ship's log survived is a remarkable tale. It is belived that Captain Tessier rescued the log and carried it to Fort St. Louis. During the Karankawa attack and ransacking of the fort, pages of the log were likely among the spoils. According to an account in the archives of Seville, the log pages, wrapped in lace, were carried by four Jumano and Cibolo chiefs to Governor Juan Ysidro de Pardiñas Villar de Francos in the remote Spanish settlement of Nuevo Vizcayo in 1689. To the Spanish, these documents were telltale evidence of the activities of the French on the northern frontier of new Spain. Image courtesy of the Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
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