Have you been deciding on a family vacation? Somewhere that has some history? St. Augustine FL may be somewhere you’d like to check out. It has so much history since it is the oldest city in the United States since they are celebrating their 450th anniversary this year! That’s a long time!
When we went to St. Augustine in May this year, we went to the Castillo De San Marcos.
Construction on the Castillo began in 1672 and was completed twenty-three years later in 1695. The Castillo De San Marcos is made of coquina’ (Spanish for “small shells”), that has bonded together to create a similar stone to limestone.
In 1702, the English laid siege on the Castillo. The small English cannons had little effect on the strong walls because the coquina’ absorbed most of the impact.The town of St. Augustine was destroyed. The English burned their ships to avoid them being taken under Spanish control.
Over the years the Castillo has been under the control of several different countries. In 1763 the Spanish turned it over to the British and the fort was renamed Fort St. Mark. Spain regained control of Florida in 1783 with the Peace of Pairs treaty and the name was changed back to Castillo De San Marcos. However in n 1819, Spain signed the Adams–Onís Treaty, ceding Florida to the United States, which was transferred in 1821.
The United States changed the name from Castillo De San Marcos to Fort Marion to honor revolutionary war general Francis Marion. Under US control store rooms were converted to prison cells with heavy doors and barred windows.
In 1861, Florida seceded from the United States during the opening months of the American Civil War. Union troops had left the fort at this time leaving only one solider to man the fort. He refused to surrender the fort unless he was given a receipt for it from the Confederates. The solider was given the receipt and the Confederacy took the fort with out a shot fired. Most of the fort’s artillery was sent elsewhere leaving only five cannons to defend it.
In 1862, the fort was once again under US control. The Confederates had evacuated St. Augustine. During this time the fort was used as a military prison.
In 1875, the fort was used as a prison for Native Americans during the aftermath of the Indian Wars in the west. Numerous Native Americans were held prisoners and left to die.
In 1924, the Castillo De San Marcos was designated a National Monument.
In September, King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain visited the Castillo to celebrate the 450th anniversary of St. Augustine. This was the King and Queen’s first visit to the United States since taking the throne. In 2001, his father, King Juan Carlos visited.