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Author Topic: THE WATCHTOWER OF ST. CHARLES  (Read 251 times)

FloridaFishinFool

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THE WATCHTOWER OF ST. CHARLES
« on: November 20, 2017, 07:43:25 PM »

I hope this is the right place for a thread about Florida history. As some of you know I love history, but I especially love researching Florida history mainly because my family has been here since 1878 when my great grandfather rode into Florida from South Carolina on an open mule drawn wagon and settled here, and we have been here ever since. So I love our local history.

So I thought I would share a special place in Florida that many know about, but may not know the background about it to really know how significant of a place it was once upon a time... and let me tell you- when I stand there at this location and look out upon the intracoastal waterway and the ocean and I look down at the extensive old cannon traverses it gives me the chills to think about what this place was used for and means in the bigger picture of history and how it shaped who and what we are today.

So before I get into the background, let me just show you a very special place and one of a kind in Florida. Like they say a picture can tell a story of a thousand words. Well, these images tell a whole lot more...

So what is this place and what is its place in our history??? Do you know what this place is and what these photographers are focused upon??? The why of it all is amazing to learn in my opinion...






« Last Edit: November 20, 2017, 11:09:18 PM by FloridaFishinFool »
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FloridaFishinFool

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Re: Florida History...
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2017, 08:01:15 PM »

I'll post another photo to begin to crack open the pages of history on this place...

But before I do, let me preface this image by saying how amazed I am when visiting this special place to watch the people around me come and go without ever knowing or even realizing what they are looking at. The depth of background for this one spot is not told to the thousands of tourists by the National Park Service operating this famous location. Its secretive history is really left untold to all those who come and go from here every single day. They pay their entrance fee and walk around inside looking at this place while only learning a tiny small fraction of its background history or how really important this spot was for well over a century. For about 135 years actually from the day it was built here. I watch tourists stand upon the ramparts and look from the same places the Spaniards did and yet they have know clue what it is they are even looking are or why.

It took 23 years to complete from 1672 to 1695. And so up until the early 1800's this spot was making history.

Here is a small part of the key to its history unlocked...



After taking in the information on this image, is it not clear what value there was for this one spot on the map???

Go back up to the top of this thread and look at the images. You are looking at the most important window in the history of the New World. That is not just any window. It is a special window.

That window is specifically aimed at one place and for one reason. No other lookout tower on this fort looks like this, and no other windows in this fort were as important as this one. All other turrets are single level only. This one is 2 stories tall. It had an upper and lower level to it, but, in the real world, only that upper tower held the reason for this entire fort to exist and stay on ready alert at all times.

For a man to stand watch gazing from that window, his life was on the line. The design of this window did not allow for a man to sleep. And if any man ever made that mistake he would surely pay with his life instantly. No man standing watch at this window would ever dare to sleep, nor would he be afforded any comforts for the body to let him sleep there. The physics of this window are only for those wide awake and alert at all times. And this window had eyes gazing out 24 hours a day around the clock every single day.

This window was so important there were soldiers watching the watcher from below. And if and when any man needed to be relieved of lookout duty there was another man- in fact a line of men- at the ready to take his place.

It was that important.

If ever there was a window that should be made of gold it would be this window. In truth, it was made of gold- and lots of it.



« Last Edit: November 20, 2017, 08:34:01 PM by FloridaFishinFool »
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FloridaFishinFool

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Re: Florida History...
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2017, 08:25:29 PM »

Taking a side trip detour... here are some images of an album by Florida's own Lynyrd Skynyrd called The Last Rebel. Images for this album were taken of the band walking the grounds of this history location. In both of the following images taken directly from the released album, the old fort is clearly visible in the background.





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FloridaFishinFool

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Re: Florida History...
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2017, 08:41:14 PM »

If you look at the map I showed above it says on the map that a Spanish fort was needed to stop the Southward advancement of the British into the Florida territory. While that may be true, it was not the only reason this spot on the map was chosen.

Here is another glance back into history:

http://www.lcweekly.com/culture-where-america-really-began/4331-the-story-behind-santa-elena-part-11

The Importance of Santa Elena

In 1565, Spain and France were in a race to be the first to either reinforce or destroy the French foothold in North America. To both Spain and France, this race meant only one thing: “to settle is to conquer.” Or as the Spanish said it, “poplar es conquistar.”

The end zone for the race was the mouth of the St. John’s River. France’s Fort Caroline was just a few miles inland on the river. However, whoever got to the mouth of the river had a decisive advantage because they could more easily prevent the enemy’s ships from entering the river and finding the French fort. Spain’s top military leader, Pedro Menendez de Aviles, led the Spanish armada. France’s top admiral, Jean Ribault, led the French armada. Ribault won the race to the mouth of the river. This was largely because Pedro Menendez’s armada was badly damaged by a hurricane.

Thus, when Menendez approached the mouth of the St. John’s River on September 4, he saw five of Ribault’s ships anchored on the ocean side of the river inlet. And he saw two smaller ships inside the entrance of the river. Spain’s Menendez had lost the race.
So what did Menendez do? Rather than fight a defensive battle with the French, he took his small armada of five Spanish ships to the river inlet that was thirty miles south – the inlet to St. Augustine. But that inlet entrance only had a shallow depth of 1.5 fathoms, or 9 feet, at low tide. Thus, Menendez could only send his three smaller ships into the bay of St. Augustine. The two larger galleons could not clear the entrance.

This historical fact tells us one thing. It was never the intention of Spain, or France, to make St. Augustine their first major settlement. Why? Because both countries needed their first settlement to be at a site where their cross-Atlantic galleys could both unload and be protected inside a deep harbor. That is exactly why Dr. Eugene Lyon and Dr. Paul Hoffman (our nation’ top two 16th century colonial historians) have repeatedly stated, “St. Augustine was an accident!” The first major European settlement was Santa Elena, because it had the widest and deepest known harbor in the 16th century. St. Augustine became a significant settlement in the 17th and 18th centuries. But it was only a military garrison by 1580. On the other hand, Santa Elena had 327 settlers, of all occupations, by 1569.

France’s Admiral Jean Ribault beat Pedro Menendez to Fort Caroline in September of 1565. However, through ingenuity, and with help from the right weather, Menendez destroyed Ribault’s fort and armada. An untimely hurricane had also sent most of Ribault’s ships to the rocks. At a time when most of Europe’s armies would either execute or ransom enemy soldiers, one captured French ship pilot informed Pedro Menendez that he had information he believed should be worth of saving his life. Menendez responded, “If what you have is important, I will save your life.” Then, the French ship pilot said this.

“It was not the intent of either Admiral Coligny, the Queen Mother, or Admiral Ribault to just reinforce Fort Caroline. Their plan was nothing less than to destroy all of Spain’s holdings in the new world. That includes the Spanish Caribbean Islands, New Spain (Mexico), Tierra Firme (Panama, Columbia, Peru) and all of La Florida. Once Jean Ribault defeated you at Fort Caroline his title was to be Governor of New France. New France would include all of the Spanish territory that I just mentioned. The plan is to send a French-English armada here next April. The first step is to set a trap to attack the Treasure Fleet that will be returning from New Spain next spring. However, before the Spanish armada will arrive in April, Jean Ribault would be ordered to go to the Martyrs (The Florida Keys) with eight hundred men and build a fort. Thus, by April of 1566 France would have two forts to ambush the Spanish fleet – one at the Keys and one at Fort Caroline. The French fort at the Keys is to be constructed for a second reason. By summer Jean Ribault will take his armada to Cuba and take Havana. He will take them by freeing the slaves and creating slave revolts. From Havana he will jump to Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, New Spain (Mexico) and then to Panama, Columbia, and Peru.”

Pedro Menendez granted the French pilot his life.

So how important is the Santa Elena story? It is enormously important. Before France and Spain raced to the Jacksonville area in 1565, Santa Elena was targeted by both countries to be the first major European settlement. St. Augustine, as Dr. Eugene Lyon pointed out, was just an accident. Last weekend I spent two days in St. Augustine with one of their historians. During my stay I asked him this question: “Do most of the city’s historians still see St. Augustine as Europe’s first settlement?” His answer surprised me. “No, most of them now see Santa Elena as the first major settlement. St. Augustine was just an accident.”

Santa Elena, however, was destined to be much more than the first major European settlement. It was destined to be the port that would penetrate and discover the interior of what is now the United States. After Pedro Menendez destroyed Fort Caroline and Jean Ribault in the Spanish peninsula of La Florida, his first step was to build Santa Elena. In 1566 Governor Menendez ordered one of his captains to start building an inland road to Spain’s Mexican mines. By 1567, Captain Pardo got as far as Tennessee. When we look back over the history of the United States, we can see that our country was settled over time in many areas. The English settled Jamestown and Plymouth. The Irish settled in Boston. The Scandinavians settled in Minnesota and the Dakotas.

But from a timeline perspective, the United States was first settled at Santa Elena.
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FloridaFishinFool

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Re: Florida History...
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2017, 08:41:50 PM »

So where is this Santa Elena in today's world???

Santa Elena (Spanish Florida)

Santa Elena, a Spanish settlement on what is now Parris Island, South Carolina, was the capital of Spanish Florida from 1566 to 1587. It was established under Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, the first governor of Spanish Florida.[1][2] There had been a number of earlier attempts to establish colonies in the area by both the Spanish and the French, who had been inspired by earlier accounts of the plentiful land of Chicora.[3] Menéndez's Santa Elena settlement was intended as the new capital of the Spanish colony of La Florida, shifting the focus of Spanish colonial efforts north from St. Augustine, which had been established in 1565 to oust the French from their colony of Fort Caroline. Santa Elena was ultimately built at the site of the abandoned French outpost of Charlesfort, founded in 1562 by Jean Ribault.

Santa Elena followed the destruction of the French Fort Caroline by Menéndez in 1565. The settlement housed a sizeable community, and became the base of operations for the Jesuits and military working in the northern zone of Spanish Florida. From this base the Spanish founded a number of other ephemeral forts as far inland as the Appalachian Mountains, but resistance from local Native American tribes and the lack of interest of Spain in the area, caused these to be abandoned, relocated or destroyed. Santa Elena was ultimately abandoned in 1587, with its survivors relocating to St. Augustine. The Spanish never pressed their colonial claims to the area again, focusing on other areas of the American continent.

History

Interest in the area was piqued following exploration of some part of what is now the coastal southeastern United States by Francisco Gordillo and Pedro de Quejo in 1521. Accounts of the region's abundance from Quejo and Francisco de Chicora, one of the 70 Indians the expedition brought to Hispaniola, inspired Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón to establish the short-lived colony of San Miguel de Gualdape. This was abandoned after only a few months. In 1540 Hernando de Soto's expedition found European goods in the wealthy town of Cofitachequi, and thus determined they were near the site of Ayllón's colony; their accounts of the wealthy land inspired further colonial ambitions. In 1559, Tristán de Luna y Arellano established a settlement at present-day Pensacola, Florida as a base for future colonization of Santa Elena, but this mission failed. The French also heard the early accounts and took an interest in the area; in 1562 Jean Ribault came to Parris Island and set up the short-lived settlement of Charlesfort there. However, this was abandoned the following year.[4]

Governor Pedro Menéndez de Avilés founded St. Augustine in 1565 in response to the establishment of the French Fort Caroline, in what is now Jacksonville, Florida, by René Goulaine de Laudonnière the previous year. Menéndez burned Fort Caroline and dislodged the French from Florida. In 1566 the Spanish shifted their efforts back to colonizing Santa Elena, and a settlement was founded in 1566. Menéndez then ordered an expedition, led by Captain Juan Pardo, to go from Santa Elena to the interior of North America. Pardo's mission was to pacify and convert the natives and find an overland route to silver mines in Mexico.[5] In December, 1566, a contingent of 125 men left on the first of two Pardo expeditions inland; with one fort constructed in eastern Tennessee.[citation needed]

The Pardo expedition created the first Spanish and European settlement in the interior of what became North Carolina. Juan Pardo led his men to Joara, a large regional center of the Mississippian culture near present-day Morganton. Pardo renamed the village Cuenca, as he claimed it for Spain. The Spanish built Fort San Juan and made a base there for the winter. Pardo left a contingent of 30 men. In an expedition the following year, Pardo went on to build five more forts, leaving garrisons down the Appalachian spine. He returned to Santa Elena without going back through Joara. After 18 months, the natives attacked the soldiers, killing all but one of the 120 at the various forts and burning all the forts. The Spanish never returned to press their colonial claim in the interior.[6]

In 1576, natives of nearby Orista and Escamacu settlements burned Santa Elena. The Spanish abandoned Fort San Felipe, which was also burned. A year later, the Spanish returned and rebuilt the settlement, at the same time constructing a new battlement named Fort San Marcos. In 1580, the Spanish repelled an attack by 2,000 natives.[7] After nearly a decade, in the latter half of 1587, the Spanish retreated to present-day Florida, lost interest in the area, and totally abandoned Santa Elena deciding to focus on colonizing other areas of the continent. The Escamacu people, who converted to Roman Catholicism before the Spaniards abandoned the site in 1587, kept their religion, and survived as a tribe into the early 17th century. After that their survivors were assimilated into larger tribes.

During its 21 years of Spanish occupation, Santa Elena was home to a series of fortifications, including Fort San Salvador, built by Menéndez in 1566, Fort San Felipe, established after the arrival of additional troops and supplies, and Fort San Marcos, erected during the second occupation at Santa Elena. In recent years, the site of Santa Elena has been extensively studied through archaeological investigation.
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FloridaFishinFool

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Re: Florida History...
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2017, 08:56:57 PM »

Boiling it down... the Spanish tried to hold back England and France from a fort in South Carolina. It failed.

The Spanish crown did not want to lose its foothold in the New World because it wanted to keep and maintain its control over its key route of gold, silver, and precious jewels.

So you can see from the modern day vantage point of looking back upon history how modern historians try and frame certain things like saying:

"So how important is the Santa Elena story? It is enormously important. Before France and Spain raced to the Jacksonville area in 1565, Santa Elena was targeted by both countries to be the first major European settlement. St. Augustine, as Dr. Eugene Lyon pointed out, was just an accident. Last weekend I spent two days in St. Augustine with one of their historians. During my stay I asked him this question: “Do most of the city’s historians still see St. Augustine as Europe’s first settlement?” His answer surprised me. “No, most of them now see Santa Elena as the first major settlement. St. Augustine was just an accident.”

Say what? Modern historians claim St. Augustine was just an accident? Bull crap!

And others say things like this:

"In 1565, Spain and France were in a race to be the first to either reinforce or destroy the French foothold in North America. To both Spain and France, this race meant only one thing: “to settle is to conquer.” Or as the Spanish said it, “poplar es conquistar.”

The end zone for the race was the mouth of the St. John’s River. France’s Fort Caroline was just a few miles inland on the river. However, whoever got to the mouth of the river had a decisive advantage because they could more easily prevent the enemy’s ships from entering the river and finding the French fort. Spain’s top military leader, Pedro Menendez de Aviles, led the Spanish armada. France’s top admiral, Jean Ribault, led the French armada. Ribault won the race to the mouth of the river. This was largely because Pedro Menendez’s armada was badly damaged by a hurricane.

Thus, when Menendez approached the mouth of the St. John’s River on September 4, he saw five of Ribault’s ships anchored on the ocean side of the river inlet. And he saw two smaller ships inside the entrance of the river. Spain’s Menendez had lost the race.
So what did Menendez do? Rather than fight a defensive battle with the French, he took his small armada of five Spanish ships to the river inlet that was thirty miles south – the inlet to St. Augustine. But that inlet entrance only had a shallow depth of 1.5 fathoms, or 9 feet, at low tide. Thus, Menendez could only send his three smaller ships into the bay of St. Augustine. The two larger galleons could not clear the entrance.

This historical fact tells us one thing. It was never the intention of Spain, or France, to make St. Augustine their first major settlement. Why? Because both countries needed their first settlement to be at a site where their cross-Atlantic galleys could both unload and be protected inside a deep harbor. That is exactly why Dr. Eugene Lyon and Dr. Paul Hoffman (our nation’ top two 16th century colonial historians) have repeatedly stated, “St. Augustine was an accident!” The first major European settlement was Santa Elena, because it had the widest and deepest known harbor in the 16th century. St. Augustine became a significant settlement in the 17th and 18th centuries. But it was only a military garrison by 1580. On the other hand, Santa Elena had 327 settlers, of all occupations, by 1569."


What is really interesting to me is that historians claim St. Augustine was a fallback position that happened by accident.

And in all of these modern day accounts there is something really important completely missing from all this modern day retrospective assumptions- and that is the words of Admiral Menendez himself:

http://upf.com/book.asp?id=ARBES001

"The most authoritative edition of Gonzalo Solís de Merás's rare eye-witness account of Pedro Menéndez de Avilés's 1565 expedition to Florida, one of the earliest and most valuable accounts written about any region in the United States."--J. Michael Francis, author of Invading Colombia: Spanish Accounts of the Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada Expedition of Conquest

"An invaluable source for scholars and aficionados of La Florida alike. The history reads like a novel, and with its careful presentation, we now have a reliable source to a key chapter in early American history and literature."--Thomas Hallock, coeditor of William Bartram, The Search for Nature's Design: Selected Art, Letters, and Unpublished Writings


Pedro Menéndez de Avilés (1519-1574) founded St. Augustine in 1565. His expedition was documented by his brother-in-law, Gonzalo Solís de Merás, who left a detailed and passionate account of the events leading to the establishment of America's oldest city.

Until recently, the only extant version of Solís de Merás's record was one single manuscript that Eugenio Ruidíaz y Caravia transcribed in 1893, and subsequent editions and translations have always followed Ruidíaz's text. In 2012, David Arbesú discovered a more complete record: a manuscript including folios lost for centuries and, more important, excluding portions of the 1893 publication based on retellings rather than the original document.

In the resulting volume, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés and the Conquest of Florida, Arbesú sheds light on principal events missing from the story of St. Augustine's founding. By consulting the original chronicle, Arbesú provides readers with the definitive bilingual edition of this seminal text.

David Arbesú, assistant professor of Spanish at the University of South Florida, has edited various early modern and medieval Spanish texts, including the Fazienda de Ultramar and Flores y Blancaflor.


It is interesting to me to be able to read the first hand written accounts from first hand sources who were present with Admiral Menendez when he conquered Florida for Spain.

It is very clear from this account that his mission was to secure Florida for protecting the homeward shipping route of the Spanish fleet loaded with gold and silver and jewels.

And what is interesting in this eyewitness account is not showing that Menendez fell back upon St. Augustine by "accident" as a fallback position. Not in the slightest... so let's take a look at some rare secretive hidden history that is NOT in most history books, but is in the one book that counts- the book of Admiral Pedro Menendez...

« Last Edit: November 20, 2017, 09:01:18 PM by FloridaFishinFool »
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FloridaFishinFool

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Re: Florida History...
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2017, 09:04:38 PM »



Pedro Menéndez de Avilés (15 February 1519 – 17 September 1574) was a Spanish admiral and explorer from the region of Asturias, Spain, who is remembered for planning the first regular trans-oceanic convoys and for founding St. Augustine, Florida, in 1565. This was the first successful Spanish settlement in La Florida and the most significant city in the region for nearly three centuries. St. Augustine is the oldest continuously-inhabited, European-established settlement in the continental United States. Menéndez de Avilés was also the first governor of Florida (1565–74).

Biography
Menéndez had made his career in the Spanish Navy, in the service of the king, Philip II of Spain. His initial plans for a voyage to Florida revolved around searching for his son, Juan, who had been shipwrecked there in 1561. He could not find his son and he was assumed dead.

Following the founding of Fort Caroline in present-day Jacksonville by French Huguenots under René Goulaine de Laudonnière, he was commissioned to conquer the peninsula as Adelantado. He established Saint Augustine, or San Agustín, in 1565; then he seized Fort Caroline and displaced the French.[3]

His position as governor now secure, Menéndez explored the area and built additional fortifications. He returned to Spain in 1567[4] and was appointed governor of Cuba, in October of that year.[5] He voyaged to La Florida for the last time in 1571, with 650 settlers for Santa Elena, as well as his wife and family.[6][7] Menéndez died at Santander, Spain, in 1574.

La Florida

In 1560, Pedro Menéndez commanded the galleons of the great Armada de la Carrera, or Spanish Treasure Fleet, on their voyage from the Caribbean and Mexico to Spain. He was appointed by King Philip II of Spain, who chose him as Captain General, and his brother Bartolomé Menéndez as Admiral, of the Fleet of the Indies.[8] When he had delivered the treasure fleet to Spain, he asked permission to go back in search of one lost vessel which had contained his son, other relatives, and friends, but the crown repeatedly refused his request.

In 1565, however, the Spanish decided to destroy the French outpost of Fort Caroline, located in what is now Jacksonville. The crown approached Menéndez to fit out an expedition to Florida[9] on the condition that he explore and settle the region as King Philip's adelantado, and eliminate the Huguenot French,[10] whom the Catholic Spanish considered to be dangerous heretics.[11]

Menéndez was in a race to reach Florida before the French captain Jean Ribault,[6] who was on a mission to secure Fort Caroline. The two fleets met in a brief skirmish off the coast, but it was not decisive. On 28 August 1565, the feast day of St. Augustine of Hippo, Menéndez's crew finally sighted land. They landed shortly after to found the settlement they named San Agustín (Saint Augustine). The settlement was founded in the former Timucua village of Seloy. The location of the settlement was chosen for its defensibility and proximity to a fresh water artesian spring. To this day, the locals of St. Augustine claim that it was here that Menéndez held the first Catholic mass in what is now the continental United States.

A French attack on St. Augustine was thwarted by a violent squall that ravaged the French naval forces. Taking advantage of this, Menéndez marched his troops overland to Fort Caroline on the St. Johns River, about 30 miles (50 km) north. The Spanish easily overwhelmed the lightly defended French garrison, which had been left with only a skeleton crew of 20 soldiers and about 100 others, killing most of the men and sparing about 60 women and children. The bodies of the victims were hung in trees with the inscription: "Hanged, not as Frenchmen, but as "Lutherans" (heretics)."[12][13] Menéndez renamed the fort San Mateo and marched back to St. Augustine, where he discovered that the shipwrecked survivors from the French ships had come ashore to the south of the settlement. A Spanish patrol encountered the remnants of the French force, and took them prisoner. Menéndez accepted their surrender, but then executed all of them except a few professing Catholics and some Protestant workers with useful skills, at what is now known as Matanzas Inlet (Matanzas is Spanish for "slaughters").[14] The site is very near the national monument Fort Matanzas, built in 1740-1742 by the Spanish.

Military

Menéndez is credited as the Spanish leader who first surveyed and authorized the building of the royal fortresses at major Caribbean ports. He was appointed Captain-General of the Spanish treasure fleet in 1554, when he sailed out with the Indies fleet and brought it back safely to Spain. This experience assured him of the strategic importance of the Bahama Channel and the position of Havana as the key port to rendezvous the annual Flota of treasure galleons. Later, in his capacity as adelantado and the private instrument of his sovereign's will, he was required to implement the royal policies of fortification for the defense of conquered territories in La Florida and the establishment of Castilian governmental institutions in desirable areas.[15]

Menéndez' military experience served him well when he led a successful overland expedition from St. Augustine to surprise and destroy the French garrison at Fort Caroline on the St. Johns River. On 20 September 1565, a hundred and thirty-two Frenchmen were killed within the fort; only the women and children and a few drummers and trumpeters were spared.[16] Menéndez left a Spanish garrison at the captured fort, now renamed San Mateo (it was later destroyed and the Spanish there massacred as revenge by the French in 1568). Menéndez then pursued Jean Ribault, who had already left with four ships to attack the Spanish at St. Augustine. A storm wrecked three of the French ships near what is now the Ponce de León inlet and the flagship was grounded near Cape Canaveral.[17] The survivors made their way up the coast to an inlet, and it was here that Menéndez ordered them to be put to death after their surrender. The slaughter of these men led to the area of their execution being called 'Matanzas' ('Massacre' or 'Slaughters'). With the coast of Florida now firmly in Spanish hands, Menéndez then set to work finishing the construction of a fort in St. Augustine, establishing missions to the natives for the Catholic Church, and exploring the east coast and interior of the peninsula.

Treasure fleet

Pedro Menéndez de Aviles was appointed Captain General of the Fleet of the Indies in 1554 by King Phillip II of Spain. This position carried great honor, and it was an unusual appointment as the Casa de Contratación in Sevilla had appointed the Captain General in the past. Phillip II and Menéndez maintained a close relationship, Menéndez was even invited to be a part of the Royal Party when Phillip married Mary I, Queen of England.[18] Menéndez was the chief planner of the formalized Spanish treasure fleet convoy system that was to be the main link between Spain and her overseas territories. He was also the designer, in partnership with Álvaro de Bazán, of the great galleons that were employed to carry the trade between Cadiz in Spain and Vera Cruz in Mexico.[19]
« Last Edit: November 20, 2017, 11:54:59 PM by FloridaFishinFool »
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FloridaFishinFool

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Re: Florida History...
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2017, 09:17:14 PM »

Pedro Menéndez de Avilés (15 February 1519 – 17 September 1574) was a Spanish admiral and explorer from the region of Asturias, Spain, who is remembered for planning the first regular trans-oceanic convoys and for founding St. Augustine, Florida, in 1565. This was the first successful Spanish settlement in La Florida and the most significant city in the region for nearly three centuries. St. Augustine is the oldest continuously-inhabited, European-established settlement in the continental United States. Menéndez de Avilés was also the first governor of Florida (1565–74).

Did you catch that? He was Florida's first governor.

"who is remembered for planning the first regular trans-oceanic convoys"

Convoys of what? Gold. Silver. Jewels! Riches beyond counting. Here is the man who delivered the New World to the Spanish crown and all of its riches.

Try and understand how important this was for this man to specifically have a mission to conquer Florida for the Spanish crown for the specific goal of protecting every single Spanish ship loaded with treasure heading back to Spain.

This was a deadly serious undertaking that went far beyond just Florida. But the spot mentioned in this thread was by far one of the most important spots for Spain to control...

Do you still think St. Augustine was by accident? Even modern historians have missed it, but they are close... take a look at the following map... what does it show you about the trans-Atlantic voyage? Where does it show the ships turned out to sea at???

Is it showing South Carolina? Is it even showing the turn at the mouth of the St. Johns River??? No. The following map specifically shows an area the ships are ordered to travel through to reach Spain. The route is further South than others say it is.





Wikipedia routes of Spanish treasure fleets:






Do you see what these maps are showing? The Spanish ships loaded with treasure left the New World almost precisely where the above fort and two level lookout tower was located in St. Augustine.

The mission of that tower tells this story too.

Spain did not want their ships loaded with treasure to travel too far to the north where they could be captured by France and Spain. So the focused on a corridor further South to protect with everything they had and they threw a lot out there to accomplish this.

What this is telling us is that Spain realized it could not defend territory further north than St. Augustine. So Spain had to concentrate specifically on Florida itself, the peninsula. Spain tried to defend as far north as Jacksonville, but was really at the limit of their capability.

St. Augustine was NOT by accident. St. Augustine was a careful calculated planned point of defense. Admiral Menendez in his own words said there was no way they could defend the mouth of the St. Johns river to carry out their mission. Ships were vulnerable to attack at that location.

So what Admiral Menendez said he did was to locate the most defensible position in the peninsula as far north as Spain could defend so those ships loaded with Treasure had a chance to successfully complete their voyages across the Atlantic at the turning point.

St Augustine was a hugely important strategic defensible position! And Admiral Menendez used the barrier islands like Anastasia to accomplish his goals and mission.

Now take a look at what was placed beneath that all important window... just try and picture this scene with Spain's largest longest cannons ever made capable of shooting cannon balls nearly 2 miles and maybe even further.

I have stood upon these ramparts many times in my life and I can tell you I have never seen cannon traverse pivots as large as these are. From the pivot to the rear aiming wheel, some have more than 15 feet between them. So keep in mind the pivot point is roughly the middle of a cannon to balance it out for easy handling and aiming. So how big were the cannons Spain placed here?

I would like to know what happened to them.



In the above image, I count at least 6 cannon placement traverses. Look at the cannon just sitting there. It is a huge cannon itself about 10' in length and it can not measure up to the size of the cannon traverses shown clearly here. so the original Spanish cannons used along this wall were obviously quite a bit bigger.

Now take a look out that channel where you see the boats coming in. That channel is where the all important lookout window was pointed at.

So what was happening here???

Simply put, ships loaded with treasure about to return to Spain would slip around the tip of Florida and take the Gulf Stream north to St. Augustine where at high tide the ships could enter the harbor this fort overlooked.

The Spanish ships loaded with treasure could find safe harbor where the crown of Spain built protection for them on a massive scale. This fort had a treasury so in case a ship could not make the trans-Atlantic journey it could be offloaded here and protected until another ship could take it to Spain. And once those ships were safely at anchor behind Anastasia Island under the watch of this fort and its massive cannons along the east side of this fort, no enemy ships could enter that harbor. It surely would not be safe for them to try and attack from the open ocean because no ship could carry cannons big enough to shoot at this fort on the mainland behind barrier islands, but this fort was well armed to shoot at ships out in the Atlantic ocean who came within reach of their massive cannons.

So that window was for men to keep watch for enemy ships approaching from the ocean and to alert the soldiers to load up the cannons. They even built a cannon ball oven to create red hot cannon balls that would penetrate enemy wooden ships and enter into their on board powder magazine and blow the ships out of the water with their own gunpowder long before any of those enemy ships could get anywhere close enough to this fort to open fire upon it.

With this defensible fort and location it would be a one-sided battle of the cannons. No wooden ships could take it on.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2017, 09:57:30 PM by FloridaFishinFool »
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FloridaFishinFool

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Re: Florida History...
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2017, 10:20:24 PM »



Admiral Menendez had a very special mission protecting those treasure ships and homeward routes... remember what I said about the Spanish keeping their ships to the South?

"Philip II selected Menéndez to outfit and command a colonizing expedition to Florida. The first objective of the mission was to eradicate a French Huguenot settlement at Ft. Caroline at the mouth of the St. Johns River. The second objective was to plant fortified settlements along the coastline to provide refuge, from hurricanes and pirates, for the treasure fleets returning to Spain by way of the Bahama Channel.

Sailing from Spain on July 29, 1565, Menéndez first sighted Florida off Cape Canaveral on August 28. While sailing northward he discovered a harbor on September 6 where he established a settlement and fort, naming it St. Augustine. Meanwhile, the French had divided their forces, some remaining at Ft. Caroline but most boarding ships and sailing southward in search of the Spaniards.


First objective was to get rid of the French who were close to the all important turn to sea for Spanish treasure ships. And second was to establish protection sanctuaries along Florida's coast for those ships.

Historians today say because he had problems at Jacksonville with hurricanes and the French that Admiral Menendez fell back to St. Augustine as the place to build his fort. But in truth it was not a fallback position. It was in fact carefully selected by painstaking method these historians may not have known about that was in Menendez own eyewitness accounts...

Maybe Admiral Menendez did first sight Florida at Cape Canaveral, but he did not just turn north. According to his eyewitnesses Admiral Menendez and his fleet of ships under his command scoured up and down the entire eastern coast of Florida.

And starting way down in the Southern tip of Florida, Admiral Menendez undertook a painstaking mission to find and locate defensible locations along the coast.

His ship or ships would travel from South to north up the east coast of Florida and stop at every inlet they came to between barrier islands. His ships would anchor up offshore and men in row boats would enter into the inlets with weighted measuring ropes and they would record depths of each inlet to see if that inlet was deep enough for Spanish galleons loaded with treasure to safely enter into, find safe harbor, and leave safely.

So very slowly Admiral Menendez worked his way up the coast of Florida looking for just the right spot where he could build a fort to protect those treasure ships and use the barrier islands to hide those ships behind the islands in safe harbor and a place where he could easily defend the position.

And according to the eyewitness accounts from Admiral Menendez himself, St. Augustine and Anastasia Island was the best possible place on Florida's coast to do just that, which also happened to be right at the turning point for those treasure ships to turn out to sea. It was no coincidence. It was no accident. It was slowly and carefully discovered and chosen by Admiral Menendez himself working directly for the king and queen of Spain.

And this fort was not the only one built there. There is in fact a second fort further South on the South end of Anastasia Island where there is another smaller inlet that some smaller enemy ships could slip up their backside. So another smaller fort was built down there 15 miles to the South also with one lookout tower and some cannons to prevent any enemies from slipping up the intracoastal waterway from the South. It is called Fort Mantanzas and was where Admiral Menendez slaughtered the French.



https://www.visitstaugustine.com/thing-to-do/fort-matanzas

Fort Matanzas has a long history, closely connected with the founding of St. Augustine by Pedro Menendez de Aviles. In 1565, Menendez killed over 250 French Huguenots upon the shores of this inlet, including the famed Jean Ribault. Due to the history of the site, the Spanish named both the fort and the inlet "Matanzas," which means "slaughters" in English. That name carries on to this day.

It is believed that a small wooden watchtower was always present on the inlet to guard the watery 'back door' entrance to St. Augustine.
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FloridaFishinFool

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Re: Florida History...
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2017, 10:32:19 PM »



























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Re: Florida History...
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2017, 10:53:07 PM »

HISTORY

In March of 1565, Admiral Don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés is awarded an asiento, or contract, by Felipe II of Spain.  The contract, signed on the 20th of March, appoints Menendez as adelentado, governor of provinces or of the specific region he was charged with conquering.  Such a role is often given in exchange for funding of the initial exploration and is the case here, Felipe would advance 15,000 ducats to Menendez and give him three years to complete the task.  The contract also comes at a time when the French Huguenots where trying to establish a colony at in Florida at Fort Caroline, which incenses Felipe, as the country had been previously explored by the Spainiards they claimed it as theirs.  Charged with removing the French, Menendez would sail on the 28th of July with the San Pelayo, ten sloops and 1500 men.

The fleet would make a stormy crossing after which the vessels met in Puerto Rico where Menendez gathered some of the scattered fleet, pushing onward.  He would make Florida landfall on the 28th of August, the Feast Day of St. Augustine of Hippo and named the territory San Agustin.  Sailing to the North the French would finally be encountered outside the mouth of the St. Johns River.  There, after a brief skirmish, the French fled and Menendez fell back to the bay he had previously landed, San Agustin, and began to fortify the Timicuan village of Seloy.

It was here, on September 8th, 1565 that Pedro Menéndez de Avilés stepped ashore amidst the sound of trumpet and drum, the firing of cannon, and the shout of the six hundred which had accompanied him on his voyage.  This landing of Pedro Menendez would mark Spain’s official possion of Florida!

---------------------------------------

Again, no mention of the depth measurements the Admiral was doing up and down Florida's east coast. One would think that BEFORE choosing a site for ships loaded with treasure that someone would have to make sure those ships could enter into safe harbor behind barrier islands and be a defensible location.

And again it says the Admiral "fell back" to St. Augustine. I just don't think this is an accurate opinion. Clearly the admiral was looking for a defensible location and the St. Johns river was not it.

One of his goals was to hide the ships loaded with treasure. He did not want them to be seen from ships moving up and down the coast just offshore, and he did not want those ships loaded down with treasure to be at safe harbor in a location where enemy ships could fire upon them from the ocean.

Yes he could take ships into the mouth of the St. Johns river, but where was he going to hide them? Where could those treasure ships go that other ships could not get to them or get within cannon shot of them??? The mouth of the river just does not seem like a strategic defensible location to me and I think this is why he chose to put the fort where he did and situated the way it is overlooking the inlet with cannons big enough to keep all enemy ships away from it and unable to enter the inlet to get anywhere near those treasure ships.

The St. Augustine location accomplishes his mission. The St. Johns river did not. So I don't think he fell back to St. Augustine. I think his depth readings and examination of the layout made it an easy choice for him BEFORE he went north to attack the French. I think he had already decided the location so it was not a fall back position in my opinion, it was his only choice location that gave him everything he needed strategically.

I hope some of you have enjoyed this alternative view on Florida history.

And when and if you ever visit this fort and St. Augustine, I hope you stand upon the ramparts next to this NE lookout tower. It actually has a name- as does each of the lookout turrets at the fort have. This one, the all important one- the NORTHEAST BASTION, THE WATCHTOWER OF ST. CHARLES (San Carlos). And when you stand there looking out to sea through the inlet, and look down upon the massive cannon traverses below just try and imagine why Admiral Menendez chose this site because you are looking at it as he did some 452 years ago.

Try and imagine the lookout watchman above you hollering out that enemy ships are approaching. Imagine hundreds of soldiers jumping to arm themselves and run to load up the cannons, fire up the hot shot furnace, and load up all of the massive cannons along the eastern wall. Imagine all those cannons opening up with full force aiming out through the inlet and over the north end of Anastasia Island to protect numerous Spanish galleons at anchor in the harbor there next to the fort.

This was no accident.



« Last Edit: November 20, 2017, 11:08:51 PM by FloridaFishinFool »
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Re: THE WATCHTOWER OF ST. CHARLES
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2017, 04:26:22 PM »

Fishinfool, thanks for the history lesson.  I really enjoyed learning about it.  It must have been so exciting, and dangerous, back in those days, especially going to an unexplored part of the world.  I can't imagine what was going through the minds of the native population.  I have read Stoneman Douglas's book on the everglades, several times.  An interesting read.
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