To Bimble

Beez Neez now Chy Whella
Big Bear and Pepe Millard
Mon 6 Feb 2012 23:47
To Bimble in this Town is Such a Joy 
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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.


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In 1668 St. Augustine was attacked and plundered by English privateer Robert 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.

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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 Mose.



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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. The Fort Mose site is now owned by the Florida Park Service, and recognised as a National Historic Landmark.



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City Gate circa 1861 - looking into St. George Street and today looking out from town


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