We will be staying a week at Disney World, Florida. No battles were fought here, and most people know it’s history. Therefore, I will not be writing any blogs for the next seven days. However, stay tuned for the further adventures of Steven and Barbara.
St. Augustine, Florida to Disney World, Florida: 125.7 miles
When you think of St. Augustine, the first image that comes to mind is the Castillo de San Marcos.
There has been a Spanish fort on this site from the time of the settlement of St. Augustine. Nine wooden forts to be exact, up to 1672. At that time, the city was plundered, sacked, and burned to the ground by the pirate Robert Searless. The Governor then order this brick fort to be built, construction began on October 2, 1672. Since that time the fort has never been taken by force.
This is now North America’s oldest masonry fortification.
TIDBIT OF INFORMATION: How many colonies did England have in what is now known as the United States?
Wrong! There were 15 colonies. When England gained control of Florida from Spain at the end of the seven years war, in 1764, she divided Florida into 2 colonies to better govern this mass territory. In order to inhabit this new and untamed land, settlers were offered land and goods. At the time of the Revolution, these new colonist were very happy with England, and her rule, and would have no part of the Convention in Philadelphia planning a Revolution.
With the British losing the Revolution, Florida was returned to Spain for her support in the war, and the 2 colonies were dissolved.
What? Back to lighthouses? Yep, I enjoy them. This one is a little different from the rest. First, it has a much wider staircase. Second, it is being used as a research facility.
The lighthouse was first lit on October 15, 1874, and is the city’s oldest still standing brick structure.
We climbed the 219 stairs to get a view from the top.
During the closing days of the Revolutionary War, there were many British loyalist in Charleston, South Carolina. On January 1, 1782, sixteen ships left with these loyalists and their possessions for the British Colony of East Florida. The ships were caught in a storm and sank off the coast of St. Augustine. One of those ships was discovered and an expedition, with headquarters in this lighthouse, began recovery efforts.
The most interesting artifact found was this rare carronade cannon made in 1780. The second oldest existing one in the world.
It was brought up and cleaned here at the lighthouse:
Pirates were common in the St. Augustine area of Florida since the Spanish occupation. It was a goldmine for merchant ships, ripe for plunder, as well as St. Augustine itself.
The pirate museum in St. Augustine claims to have more authentic artifacts of pirates than any other museum, including this original Jolly Roger from 1850:
And Pirate Thomas Tew’s treasure chest.
Our host through the museum was none other than Captain Morgan, himself.
He pointed out that the Jolly Roger was a warning to ships under pirate attack to surrender quickly or die. The black flag was raised first, indicating that good quarter (merry) will be shown if no resistance was met. A red flag indicted no mercy and death to the party under attack.
Each pirate had his own flag. The most popular was that of Calico Jack, and the one we most associate with pirates.
Although pirates kept their plunder in chests, none were buried. The spoils were divided evenly among the crew or placed on the readly available black market. There was no reason to bury the plunder.
On April 2, 1513 Juan Pounce de Leon lands here and claims all of North America for Spain, calling it La Florida. Therefore, Maryland was once part of Florida.
I think I will search for the Fountain of Youth while I am here.
This landing precedes Jamestown, and the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock by over a 100 years. In fact, both the Spanish and the French were here before the English.
St. Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied European-established settlement within the borders of the continental United States. The City was founded on September 8, 1565, by the Spanish conquistadorPedro Menéndez de Avilés. He named the area St. Augustine in honor of the feast day of St. Augustine, that honored that Catholic saint, and was being celebrated when he first spotted this site. He came here on the orders of King Philip II to drive out the French, build a fort, and set up a permanent settlement for Spain. The French had built a fort a few years earlier, in 1562, in present day Jacksonville, Florida, just north of here, which was Spanish territory.
Immediately upon landing, Menéndez marched his soldiers overland for a surprise attack on the French Fort, where they find that French military is not there. By chance the French set sail for St. Augustine to drive out Menéndez and the Spanish. Unfortunately, they get caught in a hurricane and their ships are wrecked or scattered. Menéndez hearing about this (I think he got it on twitter), returns to St. Augustine where the French survivors are coming ashore, Menéndez executes them all. The name of the bay at St. Augustine is now called Mantanzas, the Spanish word for slaughter.
Eventually a fort and wall were built around the city. The gates to the city:
Of course, restaurants abound, and we took full advantage:
Aviles Street, named after the founder of St. Augustine, is the oldest street in the United States:
And now, I leave you with this thought:
Lake City, Florida to St. Augustine, Florida: 104.4 miles