|Dr. Bronson's St. Augustine
1st Spanish Period (part 2)
by Gil Wilson (Introduction)
ab urbe condita - 35 - 198
|Destruction and Hardships
In 1602 hearings were held to decide whether or not to abandon St. Augustine.
1605 Bishop Juan de las Cabezas Altamirano had the first visit of a bishop to St. Augustine.
In 1622 another hurricane struck St. Augustine.
The Dutch pirate Piet Heyn captured the Fleet of the Indies with the subsidy for La Florida in 1627.
1655 smallpox. All of the slaves died.
1675 Uprising of the Chatotos another hurricane strikes St. Augustine.
Slave Escape from St. Augustine
December 1603 black slaves escape from St. Augustine and head south. Seven or eight slaves with
one being a royal slave. They fled to the Providence of Surruque (today's Cape Canaveral area.)
Ensign Juan Rodriquez de Cartaya was sent to the village of Little Captain to negotiate for the return
of two of the slaves. He failed. Ensign Rodriquez returned on the launch Asuncion and took several
Native Americans prisoners to St. Augustine. The two slaves were returned to St. Augustine.
Founding of the Popham Colony
In 1607 a English colony was founded at the mouth of the Kennebec River on Maine's coast. Sir
John Popham (England's Lord Chief Justice) was its principal backer in England's first attempt to
settle New England. The second in command was Raleigh Gilbert the son of Humphrey Gilbert and
half nephew of Sir Walter Raleigh. Robert Davies captain of Mary and John wrote a diary of the
colony. A map was made by one of the colonists - Hunt. (one of the first maps with a scale). A
copy of this map would be sent by the Spanish Ambassador to King Philip III recommending the
colony be stopped. The map lay forgotten in the
Spanish archives for 300 years.
Founding of Jamestown
On May 13, 1607 the colony of Jamestown was founded and the English presence was permanent.
The original settlers were all men --- 104 survivors of the trip.
Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche
Around 1615 on the Mission grounds of Nombre De Dios the first Shrine to be dedicated to the
Blessed Virgin Mary in what was to become the United States was established. The site itself was
established about 1587 as a Franciscian mission. The church was dedicated to a statue of the
Blessed Virgin nursing the infant Jesus. The official name Nustra Senora de la Leche y Buen Parto
(Our Lady of Milk and Good Birth).
Map of Florida
DeLate publishes a map of Florida in 1625 entitled Florida et regiones vicinae.
The next pirate was Robert Searles (aka John Davis). He had captured a French surgeon by the
name of Pierre Piquet who had just left St. Augustine. The surgeon had been fired by the Governor -
Francisco de la Guerra. Piquet gave Robert Searles information that silver bars had been recovered
from a wreck of a treasure ship and were being held in St. Augustine.
On May 29, 1668 he came into the harbor on a captured Spanish supply ship. In the evening his
crew disembarked and looted the town killing 60 of its citizens. Governor Francisco de la Guerra y
de la Vega slipped out a side door of his house and ran to the fort. In the fighting over 60
townspeople died. On leaving the town Searles ransomed off prisoners for supplies. He kept
Indians, free black and mestizo residents for sale as slaves. He also took Dr. Henry Woodward
another physician with him. (Dr. Woodward was probably a spy for the Carolina colony). Searles
also made a map of the harbor. He had the ability to return.
Founding of Carolina
The first Carolina settlement was established May 29, 1664 on Charles River near Cape Fear
(NC). In April 1670 the Carolina colony at Charles Town was founded by settlers arriving on the
sloop Carolina. They start their town at Albermarle Point.. The English were becoming a major
threat from the north. The first charter by Charles II in the grant to the Earl of Clarendon and others
give them the tract of land from Virginia on the north to the St Johns River on the south.
Building of the Castillo
To protect its people Spain built the Castillo. The Castillo was built on orders from Dona Mariana
the Queen regent for Carlos II. The Spanish governor was Don Manuel de Cendoya a newly
appointed governor, who was sent to Mexico to obtain funds. He stopped in Havana to recruit
masons, stonecutters, and lime burners. . The engineer for the Castillo was Ignacio Daza and the
master of construction was Lorenzo Lajones. He was called the maestro de obras. Daza was about
fifty-six years old when the Castillo was started. Construction on the Castillo started October 2,
1672. November 9th the first coquina stone was laid. (picture of the old Spanish Quarry ruins on
Anastasia Island)The fort was built by Native Americans, African-American slaves, Spanish
soldiers, convicts (including captured pirates). Several prisoners from Carolina became workers:
William Carr, John Rivers, Joseph Bailey, Bernard Fitzpatrick, and John Collins. Some of these
men took Spanish wives and were converted to the Catholic faith. In 1679 the Master of
Construction was Juan Marquez. The stone cutters consisted of sixteen Appalachian, eight
Timucuan and five Gualean Tribesmen. In 1681 Ensign Juan de Ciscara Ibanez was a visiting
inspector from Mexico. (Pictures of the Castillo from the Library of Congress).
Another pirate Andrew Ransom started working on the fort after he escaped the Garrot. The rope
broke and the friars declared it an "act of God" and gave him sanctuary in the parish church. He was
an artillerist, a carpenter, and a maker of "artificial fires." He was captured near the St. Johns river
when six pirate vessels landed on September 30, 1684.
By 1686 the main block of the Castillo was complete. The last stone for the fort was laid in
1696.(glossary of building terms for the Castillo) The Castillo and other important government
buildings were built of coquina. The Castillo was completed in 1756 by the Captain Engineer Don
Pedro de Brozas of Garay. (military terms and equipment)
The Watchtower on Anastasia Island
In 1673 construction began on the lookout tower on Anastasia Island. The tower was guarded by a
group of three, four or five soldiers. The tour of duty was a month. In 1739 it was enlarged with
soldier's quarters and a chapel. The British would add a wood tower that would raise the height to
60 feet. The Americans would rebuild the upper part of the tower, add a keeper's house and make
it the first lighthouse in Florida. This lighthouse was destroyed by a storm in 1880.
A soldier may have duty at one of the watchtowers (would have included one near today's
Mayport). Garrisons existed at times in Apalache, Apalachicola, Guale, Timucua, Salamototo Ford,
and Mayaca Ford. The garrisons would range from 2 to 42 men. Not all of these were garrisoned
all the time. The most consistent ones through this period were Apalache and Guale. There were
also duty on shipboard. Up to three vessels were berthed in St. Augustine. The guardhouse in the
plaza may have had between 12 to 14 privates for a 24 hour duty. The Castillo had between 15 to
48 soldiers detailed there daily.
Bishop Gabriel Diaz Vara Calderon visits Florida and a hurricane and flood level St. Augustine in
Governor Constructs fort at the St. Marks and Wakulla Rivers
Governor Hita built a redoubt at San Marco de Apalache under the direction of Captain Enrique
Primo de Rivera in response to an invasion of the port town of Apalache by French and English
Company of Free Mulatto and Black Militia and a Pirate Attack
In 1683 Governor Juan Marquez Cabrera formed a company of free mulatto and black militia in St.
Augustine. It consisted of 42 men and six officers. Juan Merino, a free African blacksmith, was the
unit's lieutenant. 300 pirates had landed near Matanzas Inlet on March 30 of 1683. They captured
the Mantanzas Inlet watchtower but were turned back on Anastasia Island. The Pirates proceeded
to sack San Juan del Puerto and Santa Maria.
Nicholas Grammont was a French pirate who attempted to attack the city on May 1, 1686. He
started by the way of the Mantanzas Inlet. The Spanish guards were able to warn St. Augustine that
the pirates were coming. (There was also a watchtower there from 1671.) Governor Juan Marquez
Cabrera appointed Jose Begambre in charge of an infantry detachment (about 25 men). The
Spanish failed. Another force of about 50 men attacked the pirates in a 4 hour hand-to-hand fight.
The Spanish were successful and the local Native Americans finished the remaining pirates. The
pirates that remained in the larger boats headed up the coast to block the inlet into St. Augustine.
When the Spanish sent a boat to Cuba the siege was ended.
Attacks on Carolina
In August of 1686 Governor Juan Marques Cabrera went on the attack and destroyed the English
settlement at Port Royal, but a storm stopped their movement to Charles Town. Captain Alejandro
Tomas de Leon destroyed the Cardross colony (Port Royal) and burned Governor Morton's
plantation on Edisto Island. Captain Tomas was lost in a storm in front of Charles Town.
In the spring of 1688 a stone bearing the royal arms was set into the wall over the gate of the
Castillo. Now the town was able to enter the "stone age" with access to the surplus coquina.
On November 7, 1693, Charles II (picture) (life story) gives the first official proclamation on
runaways: "giving liberty to all"
(List of Government officials from 1699 to 1764)
Spanish and some Timucuan Vocabulary helps
Go to 1st Period Spanish 1700 - 1763
Library of Congress
Library of Congress
|Like us on
|St. Augustine of Hippo