The Spanish Fort of Pedro Menendez is of special importance in the history of Florida. This is because it created the basis for what is now the city of St. Augustine. Although the city, and the entire region of Florida itself, went through many interesting times, the city exists today because of the original settlement that was started by Pedro Menendez hundreds of years ago.
Spanish Fort of Pedro Menendez
Understanding the history of the Spanish Fort of Pedro Menendez and how it became the bustling urban center of St. Augustine today will give you a better appreciation for the area. It will also help you understand some of the reasons why the city has been important throughout the history of the New World.
Let’s look a little closer at the story of Pedro Menendez, the Spanish fort he established, and his role in the history of Florida.
Who Was Pedro Menendez?
In the past, the Spanish wanted to establish colonies in the Americas. Pedro Menendez was sent to what is now called Florida to secure Spanish settlements in the region. The Spanish Fort of Pedro Menendez became St. Augustine, the oldest settlement with continuous European occupation in the United States.
Spanish Expansion In The New World
In the Spanish view, the French Huguenot settlements in the area were a threat to their dominance. Fort Caroline, for example, which would become Jacksonville, was an impediment to Spanish expansion. Pedro Menendez, under orders from Spain, attacked Fort Caroline and killed most of its male inhabitants. This included Jean Ribault, a historically important figure in the Huguenot settlement of the New World.
Following these battles, Pedro Menendez continued to work on the Spanish Fort at St. Augustine. He also constructed numerous missions to engage with the Indigenous populations in Florida. Later in his life, he eventually returned to Spain. Finally, he acted as the governor of Cuba before he died in 1574.
These days, visitors to Florida can see many of the archaeological artifacts left behind from these colonial escapades. Pieces of the Spanish Forts that were established have been found, although the remnants of some reported settlements have never been found, such as the Santa Elena fort of 1566. If you plan to visit St. Augustine, make sure to explore the many interesting historical sites that will provide more detail on this history.