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Life of Pedro Menendez de Aviles
The Last Crusader

His full name was Pedro Menéndez de Avilés y Alonso de la Campa. He was the founder of the City of St. Augustine
the first continuously occupied European city in the United States. In a world of bloodthirsty, cruel men he was a leader.
To the Spanish King and the Catholic church Menendez was a friend. To celebrate him is difficult if not impossible
except he is the City's founder. The famous 19th century historian John Fiske calles him "The Last Crusader" with his
mission to rid the New World of heritics. He becomes a case study in how we judge our past and the difficult people
who make significant contributions. It is not possible to judge him outside the context of his times where to the Spanish he
would have been a hero. For English civilization our judgment is more muted because of his death before the sale of the
Grand Armada which thankfully is relegated to the "what ifs" of history.

Early Years
Pedro Menendez was born February 15, 1519 in the sea-port of Aviles in the highlands of Asturias, Spain. His father,
Juan Alfonso Sanchez de Aviles served in the conquest of Granada. Juan married Maria Alonso de Arango who bore
him a large family of 20 children. Pedro Menendez was one of the younger children who was betrothed to Ana Maria a
distant cousin who was 10 years old.

From 1543 to 1545 Pedro Menendez served in a fleet against corsairs. This was probably the Bazan fleet.

Pedro Menendez lived in the time of war between Spain and France. These two countries were in a continual state of
war. Off the coasts of Aviles French pirates (or privateers) raided Spanish shipping. Using part of his inheritance he had
a patche built. (The "patache" is a fast, shallow bottomed row-sailer used for courier and reconnaissance service, but
sometimes for coastal patrols. It gave speed in almost any wind or current conditions.)

On September 18, 1544 the treaty of Crepy-en-Laonnois allowed the French trading rights in the Spanish Empire while
leaving the Spanish in control of "whatever Kingdoms, estates, dominions, countries, and segneuries that Charles V held
or possessed. In 1545 Francis I agreed to prohibit Frenchmen from sailing to the Indies. After Francis's death war again
broke out between France, Portugal and Spain ending in the treaty of Cateau-Cambresis of 1559. This was the world
that Pedro Mendez grew up into manhood. His experience in the Bazan's fleet was part of this.

Jean Alonso
In 1549, during the interval of peace with France, the corsair Jean Alfonse, the pilot of Roberval, captured some ten or a
dozen Spanish vessels off Cape Finisterre, and Pedro Menendez was ordered by Maximilian, Regent of Spain during the
absence of Charles V. in Flanders, to go against him and capture him. He received no financial support from the Crown
for this mission but in a fight with Alfonse off La Rochelle; Alfonse was mortally wounded in a hand to hand duel with
Menendez. Menendez rescued five of the vessels which the corsair had seized. Later off Teneriffe in the Canaries he also
defeated Alfonse's son on his way to the Indies.

1550 Letter of Marque
In 1550 he received his second letter of marque from Charles That allowed him to go to the Indies to seek corsairs. The
Casa de Contratacion registered his ships
Nao Santa Maria de la Antiqua. His second ship was probably La
that was mastered by Alonso Menendez.

In 1552 during a voyage to the Caribbean he was captured by the French for 15 days he was held prisoner. He
borrowed 1098 gold pesos to ransom his person and his ship.

Philip Marries Mary
In 1554 Prince Philip was to marry Mary Tudor Queen of England. Menendez was tasked with getting Philip to England.
He served as a counselor of Philip for this action. On Menendez's return trip he came with a group of arquebusiers on a
ship that was attacked by corsairs. In the end he piloted the boat to safety.

Armada de la Carrera
The sailing of the India fleets, both on their outward bound and return passage, the life blood of the royal income, had
become unreliable. The vessels fell a frequent prey to the French corsairs and the pirates. These incidents had come to
assume such proportions as to arouse the concern of the King, who ascribed them to the incapacities of the Captains-
General in charge of the fleets, whose appointment was made by the Judges, Prior, and Consuls of the Casa de
Contratacion at Seville. The King deprived the officers of the Casa of this power of appointment which they had
exercised for many years and considered among the most important of their privileges, and in 1554 he named Aviles
Captain-General of the fleet.

His charge began on the day of sailing, and continued until he again cast anchor on his return to Cadiz or San Lucar. It
was his duty to see that the crews and passengers were duly authorised to sail, for impostors, bankrupts, unlicensed
monks, and other prohibited persons took advantage of the fleets to escape to the Indies in the disguise of sailors, and
bribed the masters of the vessels to transport them. He saw to it that the necessary licences for merchandise and slaves
had been procured, that the passengers went properly armed, that there was sufficient powder, that the weapons were
kept in readiness for an attack, that the ships were not overcrowded and were properly ballasted, that the fleet was
furnished with priests to perform the necessary offices for the sick and the dying, with physicians, and with notaries for
the making of wills, women were only allowed as "washerwoman for the general service of the armada."

He was required to inspect his vessels, either in person or through his admiral, at least twice during the outward-bound
passage, to call the roll every fifteen days, to punish all infractions of the laws, and to ward off all strange vessels and
pirates, compelling the latter to surrender. He was ordered to proceed against pirates in the open sea hanging them as
soon as their guilt was established. On the arrival of the fleet at its destination it was his office to notify the proper officials
and to see that the soldiers and sailors committed no excesses while in port, to prevent and punish desertions, and to see
to the loading and unloading of the cargoes. He was also required to make reports of the condition of the colonies which
he visited. In addition to all of these requirements relating to the equipment of his fleet, the ordering of its departure and
return, and the interior policing of the vessels, he was required to advise the home Government of his arrival and of the
date of his intended return, on reaching the port of San Juan de Ulua. There would be a total of six of these commands.

Voyage of 1555-56
In 1555, Charles V sent Menendez to the Indies with a fleet of six men-of-war and seventy merchantmen and orders to
winter in Havana, should he be unable to sail by the 7th of September of the following year. Menendez fully realised the
pressing financial problems of the Emperor determined to exceed his instructions. Although aware, as he himself wrote,
that "in the event of failure Your Majesty will have my head off," he was back in Spain by the 12th of September of
1556, nine months before he was due, having made the entire trip and collected the huge sum of seven millions of ducats
in the unusually short space of one year.

For his troubles the Casa de Contratacion when Menendez reached Seville, he and his brother, who had been Admiral
of the Fleet, were seized, sentenced, and put to great expense on accusations probably relating to the conduct of the
fleet. They were finally freed by the Council of the Indies.

Captain-General of Philip's Armada against the French
The King by royal patent of March 22, 1557, named him Captain-General of a powerful armada to pursue the pirates
and protect the fleets and the coasts of Spain and Flanders. He was appointed to the command of twenty-four vessels to
carry twelve hundred thousand ducats and fifteen hundred men to the relief of the army in Flanders, where Philip was
already at war with France, which had finally been induced to break the truce of Vaucelles.

On his arrival at Laredo, from which he was to sail, Menendez found that half of his fleet was in Galicia. Impatient at the
delay he set out with the four ships at his command, and successfully accomplished the undertaking, reaching Dover in
fifteen days, landing his troops and money in Calais, and allowing the wool merchantmen whom he had escorted to
proceed in safety to Holland. He captured on the way two corsairs, and beat Jacques le Clerc off Pie de Palo, who had
attacked him with a fleet of eight ships.

He stopped the attacks of corsairs from the auxiliaries sent by Queen Mary to the assistance of her husband in Flanders.
He rescued the fleet in command of Diego de Mendoza, and of which his brother, D. Alvar Sanchez de Aviles, was
Admiral. Mendoza was conducting the Prince of Eboli with reinforcements to Philip in Flanders, Don Diego's fleet having
set sail the following day in company with that of Menendez, which had joined it shortly before, there arose a fierce storm
which compelled them to return to the harbour. This was found to be barricaded with an iron chain which the Mayor had
caused to be stretched across the entrance, and refused to remove. Aviles, seeing the peril to which the fleet was
exposed, took with him fifty soldiers, and, converting a heavy beam into a battering-ram, he beat down the gate of the
tower to which the chain was attached, allowing the ships to enter the harbour. So violent was the storm that six English
and two Spanish vessels went down in it and over four hundred persons were drowned.

Ordered by Philip to return to Laredo.  Philip ordered Aviles to add four great galleons to his fleet and to bring a
thousand soldiers. Aviles, aware of the necessity of prompt action, went himself to Valladolid, where the Council of War
was sitting, and after showing the delay and great expense to which the Government would be put in collecting the ships
and men, and by following the course which had been determined upon, suggested an expedient, which he was
authorised to try. Hastening to Castro, he secured four small fishing-smacks and daringly made a winter passage to
Antwerp, which he reached in fifteen days from the date of his leaving Valladolid.

On his returning to Laredo for money and men he was ordered to add two other smacks to his fleet. These two boats
were at the time in San Sebastian, where they had gone to escort four vessels in search of supplies. Aviles, hearing that
he was watched by the French corsairs in San Juan de Luz set out in his four fishing smacks eluded the Frenchmen, and
reached Antwerp in nine days. On his return voyage with his fishing-smacks, he escorted two vessels having aboard of
them the Archbishop of Toledo, the Regent Figueroa, and other gentlemen, besides a large fleet of merchant vessels,
which for fear of the corsairs had not dared to leave the port. While on his way he came across a French armada of
twelve galleons, in command of the Admiral of Normandy, and conducted himself with so much skill and daring, that the
Frenchmen fled, and he eventually convoyed his charge in safety to Laredo. On the conclusion of the peace with France
he conducted Doctor B. Velasco, a member of the King's Council, and Camara to Flanders.

The close of the war with France Menendez accompanied by his only son, Juan Menendez, and Sebastian de Estrada,
started on another of his expeditious trips to Spain, in order to make ready for the King's departure, travelling by post
through France in disguise, and was back again in Flanders by the 10th of July with fifty vessels.

On the 27th of August the fleet of eighty sail set out from Flanders to escort the King to Laredo, with Aviles in command
as Captain-General. On the tenth day with an approaching storm, and, the fleet being free of the English and French
coasts, the fleet made for the coast of the Asturias, where he had selected a landing on the shore of a point of land near
Gijon. Three leagues off Laredo Menendez realised that the storm was about to break over them. At his request the King
landed on Lady's Day, September 8th. Dreading the consequences of the storm to the large vessels off the point of
Laredo, Aviles worked all through that night and succeeded in landing one hundred and fifty coffers of the King and all of
the furniture, and then the storm broke. The fleet was richly ladened, for Philip had determined to fix his future capital in
Spain. Some of the ships foundered, and to save others the cargoes had to be lightened, and much of the rich tapestries
and treasures accumulated by Charles and Philip was lost.

Menendez's Second Armada de la Carrera
In January, 1560, was put in command of an armada destined for New Spain and Tierra Firme, in which went the Count
of Niebla, Viceroy of New Spain. Aviles sought to excuse himself on the grounds of his ill-health and his prolonged
separation from his wife; but Philip, who had as small regard for the domestic ties of others as he had for his own when
they stood in the path of his sense of duty, merely observed that a quartan fever was not a dangerous malady. Further
objections raised by Aviles on account of the ill will of the Casa de Contratación were also overridden and he was
compelled to sail, but the King considerately increased his salary beyond what it was customary to pay the generals of
the armada.

His instructions were to remain only fifty days in New Spain, and then, without another day's delay, to return with what
money he could collect. On his arrival in Mexico, he found that the money he had been sent to fetch was already a month
on its way to Spain, and in order to avoid the great expense to the Crown of returning with empty holds he remained
there ten months, during which he succeeded in securing a large treasure, and was back safely in Seville by the 6th of July
of 1561.

Menendez's Third Armada de la Carrera
Following shortly upon his return, Menendez was named Captain-General of the Carrera de las Indias by a royal
provision of October 18, 1561 and his brother, Bartolome, Admiral. The departure of Menendez on this his third voyage
to the West Indies was delayed until late in the spring of 1562 by various causes, among which was a renewed contest
with the Casa de Contrataci6n, which refused to pay him his increase of salary, and accused him of exceeding his
instructions in many particulars. From this he was relieved only by the direct interposition of the King, who ordered that
he should henceforward serve under the instructions of the Council of the Indies, which alone would hold him
accountable for their performance. By June of 1563, Menendez was back again in Spain with a rich cargo.

Scarcely had Aviles returned to Seville from his third voyage, when he fell again into the clutches of his implacable
enemies, the officers of the Casa, whose old animosity against him as the original cause of their diminished privileges and
loss of prestige now found vent against him and his brother Bartolome.

Anticipating trouble, Aviles had on his arrival escaped post-haste to Madrid, but the officials had gotten the ear of Philip
and he was compelled to return to Seville to answer the charges against him. About the 21st of August, 1563, while in an
enfeebled condition from having been bled and purged, he was pounced upon by the constables of the Casa.

He was under heavy bonds to equip three galleons by the 20th of September to transport to Peru the Licentiate Castro,
who had been appointed its President and Governor. He was released for eight days on bail, and succeeded in fitting out
the ships, but his imprisonment prevented their sailing in time to join the departing fleet for that year.

It is difficult to ascertain what was the precise misconduct with which he was charged. According to his biographer,
Barrientos, the Casa de Contratación, unable to find any cause of complaint against him in relation to the voyage just
completed, accused him of having greatly exceeded his authority in his first voyage to the West Indies, of having connived
at the smuggling of a large quantity of money, and of having in many ways infringed upon its regulations. From his own
letters we gather that its enquiries extended over all the twelve years he had passed in the royal service, although during
the entire term he had acted under the instructions of the Casa, which had laid no charge against him until its jealousy had
been aroused by his removal from under its jurisdiction.' He informs us that he was accused of accepting a bribe of five
hundred ducats to delay the sailing of the fleet during his second voyage of 1560-1561, and of giving insufficient rations
to the soldiers; both of which accusations, together with others made against him, he sums up as old charges, the most of
them of four and five years' standing.'

The judges, finding nothing against him, protracted the suit and delayed sentence, until compelled to pass judgment by the
receipt of two successive cedulas from the King himself. After spending twenty months in prison, the suit was ended by
condemning Menendez to pay a thousand ducats, of which sum the King remitted one half, and took him again into his
favour, "for," says Barrientos, "it was well understood throughout the Kingdom that he had been falsely accused.'''

Juan Menendez
While at Havana in 1563, and about to return to Spain, Menendez had sent his only son, Don Juan Menendez, a
gentleman of the Royal Household, to Mexico to command the fleet from New Spain. Don Juan had been wrecked on
his way home off the Bermudas and nothing more had been heard of him. A number of Menendez's relatives, as well as
some of his old friends and soldiers who had served under him for many years, had been lost at the same time. It was a
severe trial to his affections, he asked permission of the King to seek for his son and his companions at the Bermudas
and along the neighbouring coast. Philip himself was anxious to carry out the suggestion of the Council of New Spain,
and explore farther up the Florida coast in search of suitable harbours, and Aviles readily consented to lend himself to
this enterprise, while he at the same time prosecuted the search for his lost son.

The asiento under which Aviles was to undertake the conquest of Florida was executed March 20, 1565. It first
disposed of the rights of prior adventurers, and especially of those in the last asiento made with Ayllon, because of their
failure to settle the country. It then directed Aviles to equip six sloops of fifty tons each, and four smaller vessels, taking
with him the
San Pelayo, a large ship of six hundred tons, in which to transport the colonists across the ocean, because
the sloops, being small and uncovered, were not fitted for that purpose, but were apparently intended for the shallow
Florida waters.

The colonists were to number five hundred, of which one hundred should be soldiers, one hundred sailors, and the
balance officials, and artisans, such as stone-cutters, carpenters, locksmiths, sawyers, smiths, and barbers, all fully
armed. Two hundred of the settlers were to be married, and at least one hundred were to be labourers and farmers.
Aviles was authorised to divide out the land in repartimientos among the settlers, and to construct at least two towns,
each of them to have not less than one hundred inhabitants, and to be provided with a fort for its protection. The
company was to include four members of the Society of Jesus with ten or twelve monks of any order he saw fit; and he
was granted the privilege of transporting to Florida five hundred negro slaves, taken from Spain, Portugal, the Cape de
Verde Islands, or Guinea, of whom one-third were to be women, to assist in the construction of the towns, the cultivation
of the land, the planting of sugar-cane, and the manufacture of sugar. He was especially enjoined to see that none of his
colonists were contaminated by heresy, and that there were no Jews, Moors, or Marranos (descendants of baptized
Jews) among them. He was ordered to take with him a hundred horses and mares, two hundred sheep, four hundred
swine, four hundred lambs, and some goats, with what other stock he saw fit.

He was ordered to reconnoitre the Gulf coast of the peninsula and from the Florida Keys as far north as Newfoundland,
and to make a full report upon the ports, currents, rocks, shoals, and bays of the same. And finally came the main
purpose of the asiento, the expulsion of the French. Menendez was directed to ascertain "if in the said coast or land there
were settlers or corsairs or other nations whatsoever not subject to Us," and to seek "to drive them out by what means
you see fit."

The importation into Florida of the five hundred negro slaves was a perquisite of Menendez, and on his failure to bring
them the severe labour which they were intended to perform would fall upon the few white colonists, or, in their default,
upon those of their Indian neighbours whom the Spaniards might be able to impress. Two days after the execution of the
asiento the various titles and privileges which the King had bestowed upon Menendez in pursuance of the contract were
duly confirmed.

Menendez assembled a fleet of ten vessels at Cadiz by the end of June. Most of them ranged from sixty to seventy-five
tons, except the caravel
San Antonio, which was of one hundred and fifty, and the San Pelayo, his flag-ship, of over
nine hundred tons, a very large vessel for that day. One was a galley called the
Victoria, propelled by oars. These were
all well supplied with artillery and ammunition. The company consisted of fifteen hundred souls, eight hundred and twenty
of whom were soldiers. Many of the latter united in their person the arts of peace with their warlike occupation. There
were twenty-one tailors who sailed in this double capacity, fifteen carpenters, and ten shoemakers; indeed nearly all of
the trades were represented: millers, masons, silversmiths, gardeners, and barbers, a hat-maker, and even a weaver of
silk and a brewer, in all, one hundred and thirty-seven soldiers, representing among them thirty-eight trades, besides one
hundred and seventeen tillers of the soil. There were one hundred and seventy seamen including eighteen artillery men,
and in the San Pelayo sailed twenty-seven families. Seven priests accompanied the colonists.

Diego de Amaya, an experienced sailor, accompanied the fleet as "piloto mayor." A number of the relatives of Aviles
joined the armada: among these were his brother, Bartolome, who had already seen fifteen years' service in the royal
navy; Gonzalo de Solfs de Meras, his brother-in-law, to whom we are indebted for the history of the Adelantado, to
which reference has so frequently been made; Hernando de Miranda, who was married to Aviles's daughter, Dona
Catalina; and Pedro Menendez de Valdez, a young man of twenty-five, relative of the Archbishop of Seville, and who
was engaged to another of his daughters. Valdez was so anxious to accompany the expedition, that, against the desire of
his prospective father-in-law, he hid himself aboard the fleet until after it had sailed. Francisco Lopez de Mendoza
Grajalas, the author of another account of the voyage, went as chaplain of the fleet, and other gentlemen, drawn from the
south, as well as from Galicia, Biscay, and his native Asturias, sailed with it.

The Voyage
The night of his leaving the Canaries his flag-ship, the San Pelayo, and another vessel became separated from the
remainder of the fleet, and Menendez determined to continue his journey alone. Within three hundred and fifty leagues of
Florida he was assailed by a violent storm, which carried away all of his masts and sails excepting the mainmast; and
some of the artillery had to be thrown overboard to lighten the vessel. Being a seaworthy boat the
San Pelayo
weathered the gale, which lasted two nights and one day, but was compelled to put into Puerto Rico for repairs where
Aviles arrived on the 8th of August.

The balance of the fleet  on Thursday the 28th, arose a violent storm, accompanied by thunder and lightnings that "sought
to eat us up alive" writes the chaplain. The seas swept entirely over the vessels, which had to be lightened, and Mendoza
was all night long confessing and consoling his companions. The storm continued for three days.

Mendoza relates that a dispatch boat sent to Santo Domingo was captured while on the way by a French vessel, which,
after taking its papers, dismissed it with the charge to inform the Spaniards that the French would be advised of their
arrival before the Spaniards could get there. So anxious was Menendez to reach Florida in advance of the French, that
he determined to start without awaiting the arrival of the balance of his Cadiz fleet which had not yet reached Puerto
Rico, and on the 15th, he sailed with only five vessels, on the final stage of his journey, with eight hundred souls, five
hundred of which were soldiers, two hundred mariners and "the other hundred being of useless people," as he called
them, "married men, women, children and officials."  Arriving off Santo Domingo August 17th, he called a council of his
captains, informed them of his intention to proceed, and urged their acceptance of it in view of the favourable weather.'
The council having agreed to it, the bows of the ships were turned to the north notwithstanding the timidity of the pilots in
the dangerous passages amidst the reefs and shoals, and the seasickness of the crews in the rough waters of the Gulf

During the passage the various officers were named, the weapons were put in order and distributed, the soldiers
practised daily in shooting at a mark for a prize, and the Christian doctrine and litanies were recited with prayers and
supplications to the Lord for victory While in the Bahama Channel a happy omen was seen in the shape of a brilliant
meteor.' Just before making land a general rejoicing was held aboard the fleet, flags were unfurled, drums were beaten,
guns were fired, and a double ration was served out."

Battle off St Johns
On Tuesday, September 4th, Menéndez set sail from the harbour of St. Augustine and, coasting north, at two o'clock in
the afternoon came upon four vessels lying at anchor off the mouth of a river. These were the
Trinity and three other of
Ribaut's ships, which he had left at the mouth of the St. John's because they were too large to pass the bars in safety.
One of them was flying the Admiral's flag, another the flag of the Captain. Menendez recognised at once that the French
reinforcements had arrived before him, and called a council of his captains to consider what action should be taken. In
the opinion of the council it was deemed advisable to return to Santo Domingo, there to await the balance of the fleet,
which had been dispersed by the tempest, and the arrival of the reinforcements under Esteban de las Alas, to winter in
Havana, and to return to Florida in March of the following year. But Menendez was of another way of thinking. His
presence was already known to the enemy, four of his ships were so crippled by the gale that they could not make good
time, and he feared that if the French should undertake to chase his fleet, they could out sail it. He concluded that it was
better to attack at once, and, having beaten them, to return to St. Augustine and await reinforcements. His advice
prevailed, so the Spaniards proceeded on their way. When within half a league of the French a thunder-storm passed
over them, followed by a calm, and they were compelled to lie still until ten o'clock in the evening, when a land breeze
sprang up, and they again got under way. Menendez had given orders to approach the French ships bow to bow, and
then to wait and board them at daybreak, for he feared they would fire their own vessels and thus endanger his, and
would then escape to land in their row-boats.'

The Frenchmen soon perceived their approach and began firing at them, but their aim was directed too high, and the shot
passed harmlessly between the masts without doing any damage." Regardless of the firing and without vouchsafing any
reply Menendez kept on his course until, passing right in their midst, he drew up the bow of the San Pelayo between that
of the Trinity and another of the enemy's ships. Then he sounded a salute on his trumpets and the French replied. When
this was over Menendez asked, "very courteously," "Gentlemen, from where does this fleet come?" "From France,"
answered a voice from the Trinity. '' What are you doing here?" "Bringing infantry, artillery, and supplies

Mr. Parkman in his
Pioneers of France in the New World, Boston, 1893, p. 112, note, discredits the statement that
the French opened fire on the Spaniards as they approached. For a fort which the King of France has in this country, and
for others which he is going to make." "Are you Catholics or Lutherans ?" he asked next. "Lutherans, and our General is
Jean Ribaut," came the response. Then the French in turn addressed the same questions to the Spaniards, to which
Menendez himself replied: "I am the General; my name is Pedro Menendez de Aviles. This is the armada of the King of
Spain, who has sent me to this coast and country to burn and hang the Lutheran French who should be found there, and
in the morning I will board your ships; and if I find any Catholics they will be well treated." In the dead silence which
prevailed while the parley was in progress, "a stillness such as I never heard since I came to the world,'' writes the
Spanish chaplain, those aboard his ship heard a boat put out from one of the Frenchmen, carrying a message to their flag-
ship and the reply of the French commander, '' I am the Admiral, I will die first," from which they inferred that it was a
proposition to surrender. When the conversation was ended there followed an exchange of abuse and foul words, until
Menendez, exasperated and unable to restrain his impatience, ordered his crew to draw their swords and to pay out the
cable so as to board at once. The sailors showed some hesitation, and Menendez sprang down from the bridge to urge
them on and found that the cable was caught in the capstan, which caused some delay. But the Frenchmen had also
heard the signal and, taking advantage of the momentary pause, cut their cables, passed right through the Spanish fleet,
and fled, three vessels turning to the north and the other to the south, with the Spaniards in hot pursuit. Menendez with
two of his ships took the northerly course, but the three French galleons out sailed him, and at dawn he gave up the
chase, and, returning to the mouth of the St. John's with the intention of pursuing his original plan of seizing and fortifying
it, reached it at ten o'clock in the morning. On attempting its entrance he discovered three ships up the river and at the
point of the land two companies of infantry, who brought their artillery to bear upon him. So he abandoned the attempt to
capture the entrance and made for St. Augustine.

The three Spanish vessels which took the southerly course in pursuit of the remaining French ship continued all night.
Menendez had ordered them to rejoin him at the mouth of the St. John's in the morning, and, if unable to do so, to return
to St. Augustine. But a storm arose and they were obliged to cast anchor off the coast, the vessels being so small they
did not dare to take to the sea. One of the three broke away, and while in this peril a French ship was sighted and they
were in terror of being boarded; but she did not attack them, although she hove to within a league.

Founding of St. Augustine
The following day, Thursday, September 6th, after sighting a second French vessel they made for a harbour near at hand,
which proved to be that of St. Augustine, and on landing found that the other two vessels had preceded them, having also
arrived the same day (September 6th). The harbour was near the village of an Indian chief named Seloy, who received
them with much kindness. The Spaniards at once went to work to fortify a large Indian dwelling, probably a communal
house of the natives, which lay near the water's edge. They dug a ditch around it and threw up a breastwork of earth and
fagots, "these two good captains of ours,"

On Saturday, Lady's day, September 8th, the balance of the colonists, one hundred in number, and supplies were put
ashore. Then the General landed amidst the waving of flags, the sounding of trumpets and of other instruments of war,
and the salutes of the artillery. The chaplain, Mendoza, who had gone ashore the previous day, advanced to meet him,
chanting the
Te Deum Laudamus and carrying a cross which Aviles and those with him reverently kissed, falling upon
their knees. Then Menendez took possession in the King's name. The mass of Our Lady was solemnly chanted, and the
oath was administered to the various officials in the presence of a large concourse of friendly Indians who imitated all of
the postures of the Spaniards.

From the
Letters of Pedro Menendez: “I sent on shore with the first 200 soldiers, two captains, Juan Vincent a brother
of the Captain Juan Vicente,and Andres Lopez Patino, both old soldiers, in order to throw up a trench in the place most
fit to fortify them selves in, and to collect there the troops that were landed so as to protect them from the enemy if he
should come upon them. They did this so well that when I landed on Our Lady’s Day to take possession of the country
in your Majesty’s name, it seemed as if they had a months time, and if the had shovels and other iron tools, they could
not have done it better, for we have none of these things, the ship laden with them not having yet arrived. I have smiths
and iron, so that I can make them with dispatch, as I shall. When I go onshore we shall seek out a more suitable place to
fortify ourselves in, as it is not fit where we are now. This we must do with all speed, before the enemy can attack us, and
if they give us eight days more time, we think we shall do it.”

Gonzalo de Villarroel was appointed adjutant, and ten captains were also named. With an eye to the growth of the
colony the offices of Royal Accountant, Factor, and Treasurer were assigned to Esteban de las Alas, Pedro Menendez
Marques, nephew of the Adelantado, and Hernando de Miranda. "For many years they have served under me," wrote
Aviles to the King, "and since all three are married to women of rank it may be that on account of their offices and
through love for me they may bring their wives and households, which may draw other married people. For it is a good
plan to begin to settle these Florida provinces with people of rank."' The ceremony was concluded by the serving out of
food to colonists and Indians alike. The negro slaves were quartered in the huts of the Indian village and the work on the
defences was proceeded with. While this was in progress, two of Ribaut's ships, which the Spaniards had chased on the
night of September 4th, made a demonstration at the mouth of the harbour, offering combat to the San Pelayo and the
San Salvador, which were unable to cross the bar on account of their size, and lay outside in a very exposed situation.
But the challenge was not accepted, and after watching from a distance the landing of the troops, the Frenchmen sailed
away the same afternoon, and returned to the mouth of the St. John's.

The Destruction of Fort Caroline
"Leaving this Fort of St. Augustine in the order above described and with determination on the eighteenth of September,
we found the rivers so swollen from the copious rains that it was impossible to ford them and we obliged to take a
circuitous route which had never been used before through swamp and unknown roads to avoid the rivers.

After walking until nine or ten o'clock at night, on the morning of the twentieth, which is the feast of San Mateo, we
arrived in sight of the Fort. Having offered prayers to the Blessed Lord and His Holy Mother, supplicating them to give
us victory over these Lutherans, it was agreed that with twenty ladders, which we carried, we would assail the Fort. His
Divine Majesty had mercy upon us and guided us in such a way that without losing one man and with only one injured,
we took the Fort with all it contained, killing about two hundred and thirty men; the other ten we took as prisoners to the
forest. Among them were many noble men, one who was Governor and Judge, called Monsieur Laudonniere, a relative
of the French Admiral, and who had been his steward. This Laudonniere escaped to the woods and was pursued by one
of the soldiers who wounded him, and we know not what has become of him, as he and the others escaped by swimming
out to two small boats of the three vessels that were opposite the Fort, without about fifty or sixty three days
they had fled...I then told him how we had taken their Fort and hanged all those we found in it, because they had built it
without Your Majesty's permission and because they were scattering the odious Lutheran doctrine in these Provinces,
and that I had war fire and blood, as Governor and Captain-General of these Provinces, against all those who came to
sow this hateful doctrine; representing to him that I came by order of Your Majesty to place the Gospel in these parts
and to enlighten the natives in all that the Holy Church of Rome says and does so as to save their souls."

140 settlers are killed. 60 women and children survive.

For those that he hanged he left a board proclaiming: "Not as to Frenchmen, but, as to Lutherans."

Murder at Mantanzas
This is the story of the survivors of the French fleet that had attempted to attack St. Augustine but were caught in a storm.

"On the 28th of September the Indians notified me that many Frenchmen were about six leagues from here on the coast,
that they had lost their vessels and escaped by swimming and in boats. Taking fifty soldiers I was with them next morning
at daylight, and, leaving my men in ambush, I took one with me to the banks of the river, because they were on one side
and I on the other bank. I spoke to them, told them I was Spanish; they said they were French.....I had their hands tied
behind them and had them stabbed to death, leaving only sixteen, twelve being great big men, mariners whom they had
stolen, the other four master carpenters and caulkers ---people for whom we have much need, and it seemed to me to
punish them in this manner would be serving God, our Lord, and Your Majesty."

Some days later another group of men were assembled at the inlet. This group included Ribault. They were treated in the
same manner as the first group. From Solis de Meras a Spanish priest:

"The Adelantado taking Jean Ribault behind the sand hills, among the bushes where the others had their hands tied
behind them, he said to these and all others as he had done before, that they had four leagues to go after night, and that
he could not permit them to go unbound; and after they were all tied, he asked if they were Catholics or Lutherans, or if
any of them desired to make confession.

Jean Ribault replied, 'that all who were there were of the new religion,' and he then began to repeat the psalm, 'Domine
Memento Mei'; and having finished, he said, 'that from dust they came and to dust they must return, and that in twenty
years, more or less, he must render his final account; and that the Adelantado might do with them as he chose,' The
Adelando then ordered all to be killed, in the same order and at the same mark, as had been down to the others. He
spared only the fifers, drummers and trumpeters, and four others who said that they were Catholics."

Caught at the Matanzas inlet nearly 250 Frenchmen were slaughtered giving the place its Spanish name of Matanzas.
Solis de Meras, the brother-in-law of Pedro Menendez, and San Vicente murdered Jean Ribault at this site. One
survivor of the mass murder was Christophe le Breton who was caught again by the Spanish and sold as a slave.
Through luck he was finally able to return to France. The bodies of the murdered were burned to ashes.

Return to Cuba
Later Menendez found other Frenchmen and swore that he would not kill them. On landing, the entire company keeled
down to render thanks for their deliverance, and then Menendez "called the Frenchmen and charged them to behold the
power and the goodness of God, and if they were Lutherans to repent and turn Catholics; and that whatever their religion
might be, he was bound to treat them well because they had surrendered on his word: and that he would give them liberty
to return to France in the first ships leaving for Spain: that he told them this because of his desire that they should save
themselves. There were some of them,'' continues Barrientos, " who weeping, beat their breasts beseeching Our Lord for
mercy; and said that they had been bad Christians and Lutherans, and that they had repented, and from then on would
abandon their evil sect, would confess themselves and commune, for they wished to keep that [faith] which the Holy
Mother Church of Rome held and believed. The Adelantado gave them all presents and bade them not to trouble about
their work, and that he would care for them as if they were his brothers."

Re-embarking, Aviles shortly reached Havana, where he was joyfully received by Diego de Amaya, the commander of
the second boat, who had arrived two days before him, and had given him up for lost. He found there Pedro Menendez
Marques, with two hundred men and three vessels of the Asturian fleet, from which Marques had become separated in a

When Aviles entered the harbour of Havana, his arrival had been announced to the governor, Garcia Osorio. His own
vessels had hailed him with salvos of artillery and the blowing of trumpets. Osorio also came down to the quay to receive
him, with a drummer and piper and an escort flying a flag and bearing torches, but he did not remain. His treasurer, Juan
de Hinestrosa, however, welcomed the General and conducted him and his people to his own house, where they were
entertained with great hospitality. It was an unpropitious star for the Florida colony which had brought the Adelantado to
Havana at this moment, for the Governor had just committed a very arbitrary and high-handed offence against Juan de la
Parra, a captain of the fleet of New Spain, subject to the orders of Aviles. Some three months before, La Parra, while on
his way to Havana, had captured a Portuguese prize. Within an hour of his arrival the Governor had forcibly seized it,
mutilating the pilot in charge, to which La Parra had quietly submitted; but as the latter had been unable to withhold some
expressions of anger at the unwarrantable proceeding, Osorio had also seized him and confined him in a dark prison,
where he had been languishing for three months, chained to the walls of his dungeon. All of this Aviles learned from
Hinestrosa, who had also warned him that the Governor had forbidden the subject to be broached.

The day following his arrival Aviles met the Governor on leaving church after mass, and later in the day called on him,
informed him of the straits to which his Florida colony was reduced, and exhibited his two royal cedulas

It was a serious situation for the anxious Adelantado, for Cuba was the centre to which his ships were constantly plying in
search of supplies for his Florida colony; and he feared the treatment to which his captains and officials would be
exposed at the hands of one who could be so arbitrary with their commander. But his tact was equal to his courage.
Clearly appreciating the importance of retaining at least the semblance of good terms with the Governor, and the
necessity of committing no act of violence which could expose him to contempt of Osorio's legitimate authority, he
controlled his temper, courteously doffed his hat, and left his presence. "I assure Your Majesty," wrote Avites, "that I
secured a greater victory in submitting patiently and quietly to his bad treatment than that which I gained over the French
in Florida." Aviles was now thrown upon his own, he sold the prize captured by Marques, and with the proceeds loaded
two vessels with sufficient provisions to last until January, one of which, in command of Diego de Amaya, was sent to the
relief of the colonists at St. Augustine.

The air at Havana was full of rumours of English, French, and Portuguese pirates infesting the neighbouring islands, and
while awaiting the month of March to return to Florida, and possibly also in order to keep his men out of mischief in view
of the attitude of the Governor of Cuba, Aviles determined to go and fight them. In the latter part of November he set sail
with the three vessels of his nephew and the ship of the unfortunate Juan de la Parra. The very day of his departure he
overtook a ship which, mistaking him and his fleet for corsairs, put into the harbour of Matanzas, where her crew
abandoned her and made for the land. On searching her she proved to be a royal dispatch boat, and having recalled the
crew, he learned that they were bringing him advices from Spain to prepare nine months' supplies of meat and fish for a
reinforcement of eighteen hundred men who were to sail for Florida' in command of Sancho de Arciniega. Convinced
that these reinforcements were sent in view of a threatened attack of a French fleet, Aviles immediately abandoned his
designs against the pirates and returned to Havana to forward the necessary material to Florida in anticipation of
Arciniega's arrival He had already dispatched his brother-in-law, Meras, with a ship to Campeche to procure corn,
chickens, shoes, and other necessary articles for Florida, with directions to proceed from there to New Spain, where he
was to borrow money, enlist soldiers, and obtain some Dominican friars to convert the natives; and he now sent an
additional vessel to Campeche for more provisions.' On December 19th his nephew, Pedro Menendez Marques, had
sailed for Spain bearing dispatches."

Osorio continued to subject him to a variety of petty annoyances. Aviles had wished to impress into his own service the
dispatch boat which had brought the announcement of the prospective sailing of Arciniega's fleet: this the Governor had
refused to allow. Then Aviles fell ill, and during the ten days he lay in bed forty of his men deserted, and Osorio lent him
no assistance to recover them. The Governor impeded the departure of vessels going for provisions, and, according to
the letter which Aviles wrote the King giving an account of the incident, he even sought to induce Hinestrosa to turn him
out of his house, while he was still ill, with the object of driving him out of the town and compassing his death

Esteban de las Alas arrived early in January of 1566. After separating from Marques he had encountered Gonzalo de
Peñalosa, who had left Santo Domingo on the 28th of September with the armament furnished by the Audiencia of Santo
Domingo, and had captured a prize on his way. Together they had put into Yaguana for water and provisions, where
they spent two weeks, capturing another prize during their detention. Proceeding to Havana by the Old Bahama Channel,
they encountered a series of misfortunes. Delayed by the weather at various points along their route, they lost one ship in
a storm, and at a harbour on the Cuban coast one hundred and ten men by desertion. Finally, at Sauana, Pefialosa
received the news of the capture of Fort Caroline and, summoned to Havana with the remainder of his force, he
delivered his dispatches to Aviles and found there his two vessels, which had preceded him in company with Las Alas.
His presence being no longer required, Pefialosa attempted to return to Santo Domingo in his own vessels; but Aviles
impressed both of them for the Florida service and also took possession of one of his guns and Osorio of the other, and
he was compelled to wait two months in Havana, before he secured a ship in which to depart.

The two vessels which had gone to Florida had now returned. That in command of Gonzalo Gallego had been absent but
fifteen days. It found the Ays colony in a deplorable condition. Driven by starvation the settlers had divided up into small
parties in search of food. The cacique of Ays had risen against them in company with the neighbouring Indians. In their
extremity they had moved twenty leagues farther down the lagoon to the neighbourhood of Gilbert's Bar and St. Lucie
River, where they had found more abundant food, fish and mulberries, and friendly Indians. During the four days

The Return to Spain
May 18, 1567, Aviles set sail from San Felipe in an extremely small vessel of only twenty tons burden. His company
consisted of thirty-eight men, including six Indians and a priest; the two captains, Henriquez and Rodabdn, went as
prisoners.' June 15th he was at Tercera, one of the Azores, where he heard that Philip was to sail from Corunna for
Flanders. Making for that port 1 he was chased by one English and two French vessels into Vivero, twenty leagues to
the east of Corunna. He arrived at Vivero about the 17th or 18th of the month, and learned that the King was still in
Madrid. Aviles wrote announcing his arrival, sent forward his prisoners to the Council of the Indies, and then went on to
his native town of Aviles.

His arrival at Artedo he visited his home and saw his wife, with whom he remained for eighteen days, and July 25th
reached Madrid. He presented himself before the King with his six Indians in their scant Florida dress armed with their
bows and arrows. Garcilaso relates that as the Indians were passing through a village, on their way to Madrid, one of the
Spaniards who had visited Florida in company with De Soto went out to see them. In order to show his acquaintance
with their country he inquired of them if they were from the province of Vetachuco, or Apalache, or Mauvilia, or
Chicaca, or from other regions where some great battles had been fought. The Indians immediately perceived his object,
and looking at him askance, replied, "Do you want to have news of those provinces, which you left in such a bad
condition?" Then, having consulted together a little, saying they would prefer to give him a volley of arrows rather than the
news he asked for, two of the Indians shot some arrows in the air. They did this with such skill that the arrows mounted
out of sight, and the Spaniard, who himself narrated the incident to Garcilaso, expressed his surprise that they had not
shot at him, so great was their proverbial recklessness and daring

Captain General of the West
On his arrival at Court Aviles found that the false reports concerning his conduct spread abroad by the Florida deserters
and mutineers, among which was the accusation that he had sold the provisions sent to Florida to his own advantage, had
produced a bad impression on Philip and his Council. This he successfully dispelled. He told of his plans to impede the
passage of the French to Newfoundland, referring probably to his Chesapeake Bay enterprise, and was treated as a
veritable Neptune of the Florida seas, says Fourquevaux, who wrote Charles IX. that Aviles had been summoned to
Spain to command the fleet which was on its way to Flanders to plant the Inquisition there. If such had been Philip's
original intention, it was subsequently abandoned. November 3, 1567, the King rewarded him with the title of Captain
General of the West, appointed him to command a fleet of twelve galleons, with two thousand soldiers to secure the
navigation of the West Indies, and granted him an aid of two hundred thousand ducats.' In the early part of January of the
following year the King conferred upon him the commandery of the .Holy Cross of Zarza of the Knights of Santiago with
an income of eight hundred crowns in recognition of his services.

Return to Florida
IN addition to the unremitting care which he continued to bestow on his colony, Menendez took advantage of his
presence in Spain to present Philip the plans of the extended exploration and conquest which he had first conceived
shortly after his arrival in Florida. Not even the disheartening news which reached him from time to time of starvation and
mutiny, Indian wars, and French revenge could curb his enterprising and self-reliant temperament. Four months after his
return from his first expedition to Florida he was already maintaining his favourite theory of a passage to the Pacific and
to China by way of Chesapeake Bay, and Fourquevaux informed Catherine that Philip was so taken with the proposition
that he had advanced two hundred and thirty thousand crowns for the undertaking.' Aviles also called the attention of his
master to the Portuguese settlements "on the coast of Florida in Newfoundland, the discovery of which was under his
charge." According to his account the Portuguese had been fortifying themselves for two years at a place in the interior
near some large Indian towns two hundred leagues away, and reached from Newfoundland by an arm of the sea, and
were threatening the passage to China and the Moluccas, unless they were driven out.

As if these considerations were not enough for his unbounded ambition, Aviles had also conceived the design of
extending his domain to the confines of Mexico, and applied to the King for a licence to settle in the northern part of
Panuco, "which was in Florida," giving as one of his titles to its possession the proximity of the country to the region he
had already conquered, and in compliance with his suggestion a royal cedula 1 was dispatched to the Audiencia of
Mexico for its opinion. The Audiencia, jealous of his pretensions, reported adversely.

"For measured by an air line from the corner of Panuco to the corner of Santa Elena," it said, "there are four hundred and
fifty leagues, and it is a common practice among cosmographers to add a third more of the way by land, on account of
the sinuosities of the mountains, lagoons, and valleys which usually occur. And we are informed that they exist there in
great number, and it is more difficult to conduct the road by the mountains, on account of the great ravines, and hollows
and valleys, and the excessively mountainous condition of the county, so that the distance is not the eighty leagues which
Pedro Menéndez says, but six hundred according to this computation."

Another reason for discountenancing the grant, and one more especially intended to appeal to the royal purse, was that
the colonists "would extract silver there to mint for foreign kingdoms, or for where they chose, and would introduce all
kinds of merchandise, without its being subject to the proper accounting." The Audiencia also insisted that all of the
turbulent element of the country would gather about the new colony, and it would become a source of trouble to New

"The site he lays claim to settle is sixty leagues from Mexico, and in case the Rio del Espiritu Santo should have to be
discovered in order to go to the point of Santa Elena, it would have to be done from this New Spain in order to avoid
these inconveniences, and in no way does it profit the service of Your Majesty and the peace of this land, to accede to
the pretensions of Pedro Menendez." Four years later his request was granted and the limits of his Florida grant were
extended west to the Rio Panuco "eighty leagues," and to the north to the confines of Mexico, and east, north-east, and
north from Santa Elena.

Throughout the month of February, 1568, Aviles was in Biscay preparing the fleet that was to sail for Flanders, which at
the time it was thought that he would himself command In the summer he appears to have made his fifth voyage to the
Indies, returning in the summer or early fall of the following year, between which terms it is among the possibilities that he
made one visit to Florida as recorded in a previous chapter.' On reaching Spain he found a letter from Pope Pius V.
congratulating him upon his appointment as Governor of Florida, and enjoining upon him "the good sense and discretion"
which he should observe in his government of the Indians, "to effect the increase of our holy Catholic faith, and gain more
souls to God." With the same sound sense which he recommended to the observation of the Adelantado, the Pope
dwells upon the moral standard to be maintained among the colonists.

"But nothing is more important in the conversion of these Indians and idolaters," he observes, "than to endeavour by all
means to prevent scandal being given by the vices and immoralities of such as go to those western parts. This is the key
of this holy work, in which is included the whole essence of your charge."'

During most of 1570 Aviles appears to have been at sea, protecting the arriving and departing fleets from the
depredations of pirates, probably accompanying the outgoing India squadrons on their way to the Canaries, and returning
with the treasure ships. On land his time was actively occupied with his Cuban Government in addition to his other cares.

Ever since the arrival of Aviles in Spain rumours had been afloat of his impending return to Florida, mostly in connection
with the discovery of the Northwest Passage, but his various occupations had so far prevented his departure. With the
arrival of Las Alas, the knowledge of the defenceless and desperate condition of his colony must have pressed heavily
upon him, but it was only in the spring of 1571 that he was enabled again to visit his conquest, and, as it happened, for
the last time. May 15th he was at San Lucar to hasten the sailing of his fleet, which had been delayed by the weather, the
sinking of one of his ships, and the unremitting meddling of the officials of the Casa de Contratación. On the 17th of the
month he set sail with seven galleons, two hundred and fifty sailors and soldiers, and four hundred persons in addition So
great was the danger from pirates to which a small fleet was exposed that secret instructions appointing a meeting-place
were left for Diego Flores, who was to follow him with two galleons, and Las Alas remained in Spain to afford Flores his
assistance. July 3rd Aviles reached Havana, where he spent a few days attending to the sailing of the armada, which was
to escort the returning treasure fleet. During his stay he lost some men by desertion, and as a considerable number of his
company had fallen ill, he was obliged to put the sick ashore. Here he found his nephew, Pedro Menendez de Aviles,
whom Las Alas had left in charge of St. Augustine, and who had fallen very ill, and he learned from Father Rogel the fate
which had overwhelmed the Segura mission. His resolution was quickly taken, and he determined to visit Axacan and
verify the details of the death of the missionaries. Taking with him Father Rogel and two Brothers, he promptly set sail for
Santa Elena, which he reached on the 22nd of July. He found the small garrison at San Felipe in a satisfactory condition,
and the natives "humble and obedient," but engaged in war with "the Indians friendly to the French. For the Indians, as a
rule," he observes, "are better friends of the French, who leave them to live in freedom, than to my people and the
Teatines (monks), who restrict their way of living; and the French can accomplish more [with them] in one day than I in a
year." To increase the attachment of the natives to his interests he sent to Campeche for supplies to distribute among

Having reinforced the garrison at San Felipe, his next step was to proceed to Axacan. On his arrival he found that the
Indians had fled to the mountains. Aviles, who was determined to read the savages a lesson which they should not forget,
disembarked with a company of soldiers to go in search of them, but only succeeded in capturing eight. He had,
however, the good fortune to rescue the lad Alonso, and from him he learned the details of the cruel death that had
overtaken the missionaries. The boy also informed him that the prisoners which he had taken were among their
murderers, and the Adelantado hung them all from the yard-arms of his ship, after they had been converted and baptised
by Father Rogel. Father Rogel asked Aviles for a company of soldiers to search for the bodies of the martyred
missionaries and to give them burial, but the season was far advanced, Aviles anxious to return, and the request of the
Father had to be denied This was the last of the Jesuit missions on our eastern coast. In July, 1572, Father Sedeflo went
to Mexico to prepare the way for the first Jesuit mission to that country, and from there he was sent to the Philippines,
where he passed the remainder of his life. Father Rogel lived to a ripe old age, for the legend of the crucifix related by
him was written forty years after the martyrdom of Father Segura and his companions.

It was late in the fall when Aviles arrived at St. Augustine, and after attending to the necessities of the garrison he set sail
on the 20th of December for Havana, with the Jesuits and Alonso, whom Father Rogel had taken with him, in two small
tenders and a bark.

The boat containing Menendez and the Jesuits was cast ashore near Cape Canaveral, probably not far from the locality
where Ribaut had suffered a like fate; its occupants, some thirty in number, escaped to the land, constructed a kind of
fort with the wreckage, and with a few arquebuses, which were still uninjured by the wet, defended themselves from the
attacks of the Indians until nightfall, when they set out in the direction of St. Augustine, a distance of thirty-one leagues.
Struggling onward through the forest, crossing the streams in canoes, in great danger from the sea, from which they
managed to escape "by means of some reliques which the companion of Father [Rogel] cast upon the waters,"  and,
fighting the Indians, they accomplished the entire distance, finally reaching St. Augustine without the loss of a single
member of the company. They came as a timely reinforcement, for a few days after their arrival three large English
vessels, fully manned, attacked the town, but were successfully driven off.

The boat which escaped to Havana had announced that the other two vessels would arrive the following day. As time
passed without news of them or of the Adelantado, the report spread that he had been lost. At the end of four months a
small vessel set sail on the 10th of April, 1572, in search of Aviles, and finally found him at St. Augustine, where he
embarked in time to reach Havana on Good Friday. Here he remained but two weeks, and, having sent the news of his
arrival to New Spain, set out again in the same vessel for Puerto de Plata, in Hispaniola. The date of his return to Spain
does not appear, but it is not improbable that he sailed with the treasure fleet during the summer of 1572, leaving Pedro
Menendez Marques in charge of his government. At the time of his arrival at Havana Las Alas was already on his way to
Florida and the West Indies.

On his return to Spain he continued his active employment in naval affairs, his attention being particularly given to the
equipment of a fleet directed against the English corsairs and Cimarron negroes, and on the 10th of February, 1574, he
was appointed Captain General of the formidable armada which Philip was forming ostensibly with the view of clearing
the western coast and the Flanders channel of pirates, an armada of one hundred and fifty sail and twelve thousand men
according to some, of three hundred sail and twenty thousand men according to others. Not on this account did Aviles
neglect his Florida interests, for in the early spring of 1573 he obtained a royal licence to send fifty families from the
Asturias to Florida, an undertaking he was in haste to put into execution,' while his remarkable versatility is shown in his
invention of an instrument for measuring longitude,1 for which he was conceded a ten years' patent.

Whether the armada assembled at Santander was really intended for Flanders, or, as has been supposed,' was to attack
England, Aviles was not destined to lead it, nor to see his beloved Florida again. Nine days after writing the letter just
quoted he died at Santander from an attack of indigestion He was buried first at Llanes, but his body was transferred in
1591 to the Church of St. Nicholas in his native city of Aviles, where it now reposes in a niche on the Gospel side of the
altar, with this inscription:

"Here lies interred the very illustrious cavalier Pedro Mene? de Aviles, native of this town, Adelantado of the Provinces
of Florida, Commander of the Holy Cross of La Carca of the Order of Santiago and C° Gen^ of the Ocean Sea and of
the Catholic Armada which the Lord Philip II. assembled against England in the year 1574, at Santander, where he died
on the 17 th of September of the said year being fifty-five years of age."

The only ornament on the tomb is his coat-of-arms, placed above the chest which contains his remains.

The testimony of his companions in arms goes to confirm the statement made by his biographers that Aviles died poor.
He left two daughters, Dona Catalina, who married Hernando de Miranda, and after his death Hernando de las Alas;
and Dona Maria, who married Diego de Velasco. All of his Florida interests, except the marquisate, were bequeathed to
his daughter Catalina, who also inherited his title of Adelantado of Florida, while Pedro Menendez Marques was
authorised to prosecute the Panuco conquest. The marquisate was left to his daughter Dona Maria,' wife of Diego de
Velasco, and her sons, with the singular condition that in the event of male issue the heir, on reaching twenty years of age,
was to reside with his wife and household in Florida for a period of ten years, "for my ultimate object and desire is to
procure that Florida be settled in perpetuity, that the Holy Gospel be extended and planted in those provinces." The
same condition was imposed upon the Panuco inheritance.

                                                                *   *  *

A Cautionary Tale
The murder of the French would not be forgotten. In 1568 Dominique Ge Gourgues arrived from France and captured
the former Fort Caroline now San Mateo. Hundreds were slain and captured. The latter were hanged. Left burned on a
sign was "Not as to Spaniards, but as to Traitors, Robbers, and Murderers."

On June 7, 1586 the English pirate
Sir Francis Drake attacked the tiny St. Augustine settlement with 2,000 men. Pedro
Menendez Marques, the nephew of Pedro Menendez was the Spanish governor (1578-1589). Nicholas Borgoignon, a
French fifer who had lived in St. Augustine since the capture of Fort Caroline in 1565, rowed across the river playing on
his fife
"Wilhelmus van Nassouwe," the tune of the Protestant Prince of Orange and gave Drake information about the
Fort and the city. The town was sacked and burned. The inhabitants ran off into the swamps.

The voices of those sacrificed on the sand of Mantanzas refuse to be silenced even after 450 years. The dark side of the
foundation of the City of St. Augustine is built on these bodies, Native Americans, slaves and many others. We learn
from the past not by erasing its faults but recognizing them and attempt to build a better future with the knowledge that
we have gained.

The general outline for this web page is from:
Lowery, Woodbury
. The Spanish settlements within the present limits of the United States Florida, 1562-1574.
Putnam: 1911.

Other sources
Manucy, Albert.
Menendez Pedro Menendez de Aviles Captain General of the Ocean Sea, Pineapple Press, 1992.

Lyon, Eugene.
The Enterprise of Florida Pedro Menendez de Aviles and Spanish Conquest of 1565-1568.
University Press of Florida, 1976.

Bennett, Charles.
Three Voyages Rene Laudonniere. University of Alabama Press, 2001.

Bennett, Charles.
Laudonniere & Fort Caroline. University of Alabama Press, 2001.
Pedro Menendez de Aviles
King Philip II
King Charles V
Queen Mary Tudor
Pedro Menendez
Jean Ribault
Rene Laudonniere
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