Florida travel guide

Saint Augustine - oldest city populated by Europeans

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Florido perfect dayThe perfect day in Saint Augustine

We come to Saint Augustine early - especially in the summer months, as city sightseeing in Florida makes you sweat. Right in front of the Castillo de San Marcos we can comfortably park our car. In the fort - you hardly believe it - we learn about 350 years old Florida. This is very unusual and because this is a stark contrast to the other "water-beach-suns" feeling, we enrich our holiday in Saint Augustine with some culture.

After a visit to the fortress, where, with a bit of luck, we will be able to experience cannon thunder, we stroll diagonally across the Old City, which has some museum treasures, art shops and charming little restaurants. At the end of the pedestrian zone we reach the right side of perhaps the most beautiful building in Florida, the Flagler College. It is surrounded by other architecturally effective buildings and invites you to a visit. At noon it gets too hot in Downtown and we drive to Anastasia Park. At the dreamlike empty sand beach we recover for the nighttime haunting and the ghost hours of the night.


Population: 12.975 (Stand 2010)
Population density: 597,9 inhabitants per km
Size: 27,8 km²
County: St. John's County
coordinates: 29 ° 54 'N, 81 ° 19' W
Prefix: +1 904


spanish-quarterAbout 1000 v. TimuKuan Indians came to the area of ​​what is today Saint Augustine. In the year 1513 discovered the Spaniard Juan Ponce de Léon the land around today's Saint Augustin, where he had invested. He declared it a Spanish colony and gave it the name "La Florida", meaning "land of flowers". More than fifty years later on the 28. August 1565 founded the Spanish Admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés on the feast day of St. Augustine of Hippo, named after him new settlement San Agustin. Previously established settlements such as the original colony in Pensacola in western Florida (1559-1561) and Fort Caroline, today's Jacksonville (to 1564) were abandoned.

Thus, St. Augustine is the oldest European-populated city in North America. Menéndez de Avilés built a military base against the French, who had built the Fort Caroline near today's Jacksonville. Then the French fleet went into a storm and Menéndez de Aviles defeated the survivors with his men. A Catholic Mass in St. Augustine was the first Christian service in a permanent settlement in what is now the United States. 1566-born Martin de Arguelles was the first child of European descent to be born on the mainland of today's US. 1587 founded the English settlements Roanoke Colony on Roanoke Island, North Carolina, and Virginia Colony. 1629 included the settlements in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Jamestown, Virginia.

1586 attacked Sir Francis Drake and burned her down. 1668 plundered pirates the city, with most of the residents found death. 1702 and 1740 attacked British forces from the new colonies in present-day North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia Saint Augustine, but were unsuccessful. In the latter attack, James Oglethorpe of Georgia and Ahaya, chiefs of the Alachua group of the Seminoles, allied themselves and besieged the city.

1763 ended the Paris Peace the French and Indian War, and Florida and thus Saint Augustine to the British. Under British rule, the city was a loyal colony of the British Crown during the American Revolutionary War. Through the Peace of Paris (1783), the colonies north of Florida became independent while Florida was awarded to the Spaniards.

In their hands Saint Augustine stayed between 1784 and 1821. Spain itself was occupied during this time by Napoleon and had to fear for its colonies. Florida no longer had its former significance for Spain, unlike the expanding United States, to which Florida was extremely important. With the Adams Onís Treaty, the Spanish colonies in Florida were handed over peacefully to the United States in the year 1821.

FlaglerFlorida was first a territory of the United States and 1845 became a federal state. 1861 broke out the Civil War. Florida left the Union and joined the Confederation. As early as January 1861, state troops had previously seized the garrisoned Union fort in Saint Augustine. In March 1862 Union troops recaptured the city. 1865 finally joined Florida again to the United States.

Numerous Spanish-era buildings still exist today, such as the Castillo de San Marcos, built between 1672 and 1695. She could in 18. Century successfully defended against the British attacks and was occupied during the Civil War by Union troops. Later, the Indian chief Osceola was interned there.

End of the 19. In the 19th century, industrialist Henry Flagler made his appearance and connected Saint Augustine to the railway network. Led by him, the city developed into a winter residence of the rich upper class. Several of the villas and hotels built during this period are still standing today and are used by Flagler College and museums, among others. Flagler later built the Florida East Coast Railway, which 1912 then reached Key West.

Picture above: Castillo de San Marcos

Sights in Saint Augustine