St. Augustine

Ponce DE Leon. Fountain of Youth. 461 Years ago. Conquered Island of Puerto Rico. Started out to explore lands to North.Discovered Florida Somewhere along the coast just south of St. Johns River near Jacksonville.Sailed South along Florida Coast Florida Keys and up West Coast as far as Punta Gorda just North of Ft. Myers before returning to Puerto Rico. 50 years later, 411 years ago, the French set up a colony in North Florida near mouth of St. Johns River and named it Fort Caroline.Spanish King sent Pedro Mendendez with 1500 Colonists and soldiers to settle Florida and drive out the French.Mendendez did his job well. He disembarked his colonists and his companies of infantry at the present site of St. Augustine build a fort and established a town.Marched his army North and captured Fort Caroline and slaughtered the entire garrison. Nothing left today but sand dunes and a marble shaft commemorating the rise and fall of Fort Caroline.Mendendez then established small forts down east coast of Florida and one of my history books tells me that one such fort was established at Tegesta near what is now Miami.What is Historical? Back to St. Augustine. Oldest City in U.S. established 1565--409 years ago. Attractive and interesting city. Fountain of Youth. Oldest School House in the U.S. Oldest jail. Many of old houses and shops have been restored. Old slave market narrow streets. Part of old stone wall that surrounded original town.Fort Marion. Oldest Fort in U.S. built by Spanish. Main attraction.Tour through the fort dungeon. Osceola chief of Seminole Indians kept prisoner here. Starved himself and escaped thru bars.Later recaptured and sent to Fort Moultrie near Charleston, South Carolina. Florida has many attractions but to me the most interesting of all are the historical and memorial features of the state.

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