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The Oldest City in America

Updated on January 9, 2012
A panorama of the Castille de San Marcos
A panorama of the Castille de San Marcos
Pedro Menedez de Aviles, the Spanish Explorer who founded the city of St. Augustine
Pedro Menedez de Aviles, the Spanish Explorer who founded the city of St. Augustine

Founding of the Old City

The city of St. Augustine was founded on August 28th, 1565, making it the oldest city in the United States of America. It was founded by Pedro Menendez de Aviles, a Conquistador from Spain. It was named for the Feast Day on which is was founded, the Feast of St. Augustine of Hippo. The Spanish retained control of the city until 1763, where under the Treaty of Paris they relinquished control of Florida to the British after the French and Indian War. The British intended to use the fort as a port for trade, but had to repopulate it after all the Spaniards fled the town.

They then regained control from 1783 to 1821 when Andrew Jackson came down to Florida and essentially claimed it as a U.S. territory. St. Augustine is now a historical landmark, and an awesome place to visit.

The Castillo de San Marcos

Perhaps the most important and truly 'awesome' feature of St. Augustine, the Castillo de San Marcos sits at the front of the waterway which leads into St. Augustine. It consists of 20 acres of area, and is the oldest fort in America. The fort took 23 years to build, which is understandable due to its large size. The fort never lost a battle in the 300 years of its existence. This type of fort is a perfect example of the bastion system which the Spanish employed as they colonized the new world. Over the years, it has been used as a fort, a prison for Indians, a base of operations for Confederate soldiers and then Union soldiers, and now is a reminder of the great history of our nation.

Now a protected national monument, official tours can be taken of the fort. One can see cannons mounted on the fort, the gun powder room, soldier's quarters, and a great view of the Anastasia State Park and the Atlantic Ocean beyond.

View from the St. Augustine Lighthouse
View from the St. Augustine Lighthouse
A markerSt. Augustine Florida -
St Augustine, FL, USA
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    • larryriegle profile image

      larryriegle 6 years ago

      this makes me homesick...i've spent at least 2-3 months in st augustine the last 7 or 8 years. haven't been able to get there yet this year but soon come man i hope.

      i urge everyone to see it at least once.

      the most unique city in florida, especially the historic district and anastasia island.

      thanks for the memories.

    • ttagpine profile image

      George S McChristian 6 years ago from Louisiana, USA

      Wonderful history about The Old Fort. Maybe you could write more articles about some of St. Augustine's other interesting sights, like The Oldest Store, The Oldest Schoolhouse, The Oldest Jail, or even The Old Sugar-mill.