To Bimble in this Town is Such
Spanish rule: St. Augustine was intended to be a base for further colonial
ventures across what is now the Southeastern United States, but such efforts
were hampered by apathy and hostility on the part of the Native Americans
towards becoming Spanish subjects. The Saturiwa, one of the two principle
chiefdoms in the area, remained openly hostile. In 1566 the Saturiwa burned down
St. Augustine and the settlement had to be relocated. Traditionally it was
thought to have been moved to its present location, though some documentary
evidence suggests it was first moved to a location on Anastasia
Island. At any rate, it was certainly in its present location by the end of
the 16th century.
The settlement also faced attacks from European forces. In April 1568
the French soldier Dominique de
Gourgues led an attack on Spanish holdings. With the aid of the Saturiwa,
Tacatacuru, and other Timucua peoples who had been friendly with Laudonnière,
de Gourgues attacked and burned Fort San Mateo, the former Fort Caroline. He
then executed his prisoners in revenge for the 1565 massacre, but he did not
approach St. Augustine itself. Additional French expeditions were primarily
raids and were unable to dislodge the Spanish from St. Augustine. The English
also believed Admiral Avilés and the Catholic Spanish were responsible for the
disappearance of the English fishing settlements in America which had been
established by John
Cabot. Following the disappearance of the Roanoke colony in Virginia, the
blame was immediately leveled at St. Augustine. As a result, in 1586 St.
Augustine was attacked and burned by our good old privateer Sir Francis
Drake and the surviving Spanish settlers were driven into the wilderness.
However, lacking sufficient forces or authority for permanently establishing a
settlement, Drake left the area.
In 1668 St. Augustine was attacked and plundered by English privateer
Searle. In the aftermath of his raid, the Spanish began in 1672 the
construction of a more secure fortification, the Castillo de San
Marcos, (now known as Bear’s Fort since he was Gun Captain) which still
stands today as the nation's oldest fort. Its construction took a quarter of a
century, with many later additions and modifications.
The Spanish had less slaves in Florida than the English Americans had
in their colonies to the north, as it was basically a military outpost rather
than a plantation economy. As the British settlements moved farther and farther
south, the Spanish adopted the policy of giving sanctuary to slaves who could
escape from the English plantations and make their way to Florida. Thus did it
become the focal point of the first Underground
Railroad. Blacks were given shelter, arms and supplies if they joined the
Catholic Church and swore allegiance to the King of Spain. As the British
established settlements closer to Spanish territory, with Charleston in 1670 and
Savannah in 1733, Spanish Governor Manual de Montiano in 1738 established the
first legally recognised free community of ex-slaves as the northern defense of
St. Augustine, known as Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de
Mose, or Fort
In 1740 St. Augustine was unsuccessfully attacked by British forces
from their colonies in the Carolinas and Georgia. The largest and most successful of these was organised by Governor
and General James
Oglethorpe of Georgia who managed to break the Spanish-Seminole alliance when
he gained the help of Ahaya the
Cowkeeper, chief of the Alachua band of the Seminole tribe.
In the subsequent campaign Oglethorpe, supported by several thousand
colonial militia, British regulars and Seminole warriors, invaded Spanish
Florida in the Siege of St.
Augustine, during the War of Jenkin's
Ear. During this siege the black community of St. Augustine proved
decisive in stopping the city's take-over. The leader of Fort
Mose during the battle was the legendary Capt. Francisco Menendez
(creole), who was born in Africa, he twice escaped slavery and played an
important role in defending the town from the raiding colonists to the north.
Mose site is now owned by the Florida Park Service, and recognised as a
National Historic Landmark.
circa 1861 - looking into St. George Street and today looking out from town
ALL ONE WEEK HERE IS CLEARLY NOT ENOUGH