Last Updated on September 16, 2022
Who Founded St Augustine? The answer will surprise you, and will surprise your kids! It was a Spanish town that was built to help protect the area from pirates and provide a base for warships. The Spanish Crown helped to fund the town, and the Catholic church took advantage of the opportunity to convert the native population. Missionaries were sent to the town along with the soldiers. The town was eventually named after Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles.
Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles
In 1565, Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles sailed for Florida. He was sent by the Spanish king, Phillip II, to establish a new colony. He named the bay St. Augustine after Saint Augustine, a Catholic saint. He also massacred an entire French colony at Fort Caroline, hanging their bodies with an inscription that read: “Welcome to Florida.”
The first settlement he made was at St. Augustine, and the second was at Santa Elena, which he established as his capital for the Florida territory. His wife and attendants arrived in July 1571. This small community was a struggling one. In August 1572, the community’s total population was 179 people, including seventy-one soldiers. The first colonists there were farmers, though chickens were also being raised with limited success.
Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles was an explorer who was sent to the area by the Spanish government to establish a base in Florida so they could attack the French. The Spanish explorer was so impressed with the area, that he ordered his crew to establish a town. In 1565, they named the new settlement St Augustine. The Spanish government later gave St Augustine a statue of Don Pedro Menendez.
The next step for the Spanish explorers was to take control of the coast. Menendez had soldiers complete the fort at St. Augustine, which would later become the Spanish city. In addition to the fort itself, he founded missions for the Catholic church among the natives. While he was there, the Spanish also explored the interior of the peninsula and founded churches in several towns.
After the Spanish colonization of Florida, he also served as a governor of the area. While he had served in the Spanish Navy during the War of Granada, he also served the Catholic Monarchs by sending supplies to the Low Countries during the period 1551-1559. Later, he went to Valladolid disguised as a horse. When he was six months old, he was returned to the foster home.
In 1565, Menendez and his fleet reached the mouth of the St. Johns River in Florida. However, they found that a Frenchman named Jean Ribaut had blocked the river’s mouth. In 1566, Menendez and his crew sailed south to find a more accessible harbor. They set up camp near the river and eventually built a fort. Menendez officially named the town St. Augustine on September 8, 1565. This settlement remains in existence today and is the oldest continuously-inhabited city in the United States.
The original Spanish colony of Florida was called Fort San Mateo. Originally, the Spanish claimed Florida for themselves. At the time, the area was also a place of trade for Mexico, and Spain ruled the continent. Aviles was a talented sailor, a staunch Roman Catholic, and a wealthy man. Ultimately, the Spanish colony grew into one of the most important cities in the New World.
The British were a major threat to the city in the mid-seventeenth century, and James Oglethorpe, the governor of Georgia, set sail to take it. He would place several supply ships at the entrance to St. Augustine’s harbor, which they hoped to blockade and bombard. However, the English failed to pierce the Castillo’s defenses. This led to the British seizing the city, and the Spanish recaptured it.
James Oglethorpe’s early life was filled with high-level military duties. He served in the Prussian army during the Seven Years’ War, and he met the British leaders, Samuel Johnson and James Boswell. His interests were broad and varied, and he was a great social reformer. A man of principle, Oglethorpe was well-connected and influenced many great thinkers of the day, including Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Samuel Johnson.
The founding of St Augustine traces its roots to the ideas of Oglethorpe, who was born in London. His political career included time as a member of Parliament and was a philanthropist and social reformer. His interests spanned many areas, including penal reform. He was inspired by the death of a friend in a debtors’ prison. His interest in penal reform spurred him to pursue it throughout his life. He opposed black slavery and impressments and railed against the use of alcohol.
The Georgia colony experienced many moments of turmoil, such as during the War of Jenkins’ Ear. The Spanish were mistreating English traders in the colony, and Sir Robert Walpole declared war on Spain. In 1740, Oglethorpe led an invasion force that laid siege to St Augustine. During the siege, Spanish resupply ships attempted to escape but were forced to retreat to St. Simons Island. A map was created by Thomas Silver, who mapped out the siege route.
After the siege of St. Augustine, the Spanish attempted to regain control of Georgia. However, Oglethorpe’s army did not succeed in capturing St. Augustine, but he managed to hold off the Spanish for nearly two years and captured three of the forts on St. Simons Island. The Spanish also had many unsatisfied colonists. Ultimately, the Spanish were forced to retreat and reclaimed the territory south of St. Augustine.
Oglethorpe’s mission was to make the new colony in Georgia an alternative to the British, as a second chance for debtors held in British jails. Additionally, the location of the colony was ideal for defense against the Spanish, and Oglethorpe left his colonists in Port Royal while he scouted for a new site. Luckily, he chose a location that was close to South Carolina, but still far enough from Florida.
In addition to establishing the city, Oglethorpe founded Oglethorpe University, which still stands today. A monument commemorating Oglethorpe’s work was also dedicated to the Georgian. His statue, designed by Daniel Chester French and Henry Bacon, faces south toward Spanish Florida. In addition, the city’s Oglethorpe Square houses a replica of Oglethorpe’s house.
James Oglethorpe was one of the 120 settlers who arrived in America on the Anne ship in 1732. He and his family settled near Savannah in 1733. The colonists included poor English traders and religious refugees. In 1739, the war of Jenkin’s Ear broke out between England and Spain and English colonists in Georgia and Carolina laid siege to the Spanish in St Augustine. In 1740, James Oglethorpe made several unsuccessful attempts to capture St Augustine. In 1740, he returned to the city with his army and brought 150 Scotch Highlanders with him. However, he did not make any significant distinction in battle.
Today, the city is a popular tourist destination. The Castillo de San Marcos is a historic monument, and several Spanish colonial buildings still stand in the city. The city has also been an important part of the civil rights struggle in the twentieth century, as King Martin Luther King Jr. led a local campaign to dramatize national efforts and secure Congressional approval of the Civil Rights Act. In 2001, Queen Sofia and King Juan Carlos visited the city.
In 1729, Oglethorpe was a member of the House of Commons. He was appointed chairman of a committee to investigate the state of England’s debtors’ prisons. He discovered widespread corruption among prison officials and brutality against inmates. After the death of Castell, Oglethorpe was devoted to reforming pauper policies. His reforms of the penal system eventually led to the abolition of debtor’s prisons.
About The Author
Pat Rowse is a thinker. He loves delving into Twitter to find the latest scholarly debates and then analyzing them from every possible perspective. He's an introvert who really enjoys spending time alone reading about history and influential people. Pat also has a deep love of the internet and all things digital; she considers himself an amateur internet maven. When he's not buried in a book or online, he can be found hardcore analyzing anything and everything that comes his way.