St. Augustine Written Timeline

  • 1738
    Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose was established north of St. Augustine in 1738. Governor Manuel de Montiano created the community for escaped slaves and free blacks. Mose lured runaway slaves to Florida, a direct provocation of the British planters. British forces occupied Mose during the 1740 siege of St. Augustine and it was destroyed. The Spanish rebuilt Mose in 1752 and it remained inhabited until 1763.
    The War of Jenkins’ Ear erupted and lasted until 1743. The mistreatment of English traders by the Spanish Coast Guard, specifically Capt. Jenkins' loss of an ear, led Sir Robert Walpole to declare war on Spain. In the Americas, Oglethorpe led an attack on St. Augustine in 1740, which was repulsed by the Spanish who later retaliated in 1743.
    On June 13, Gen. James Oglethorpe laid siege to the city of St. Augustine with a force of 1000 men, including Scottish Highlanders. Oglethorpe lifted the siege on July 20, 1740, unable to penetrate the fort walls and discouraged by the arrival of Spanish resupply ships. Thomas Silver made a map of Oglethorpe’s siege, which appeared in Gentlemen’s Magazine just a few months later.
    Guided by Engineer Ruiz, The Spanish built Fort Matanzas. It was strategically placed to guard the back entrance to St. Augustine. Positioned on Rattlesnake Island, the Fort guarded the Matanzas inlet with a minimal staff. The fort was first tested by Oglethorpe in 1742, when he attempted to attack St. Augustine again from the south. Fort Matanzas was declared a National Landmark in 1924, along with the Castillo de San Marcos.
    War of Jenkins' Ear merges into King George's War.
    Five times the British try unsuccessfully to land on Anastasia Island or at Fort Matanzas.
    The Spanish sailed to Georgia and landed at Frederica on St. Simons Island. The Spanish forces engaged the British on July 7, 1742, called the Battle of Bloody Marsh. The Spanish were far superior in numbers, however the British successfully ambushed the troops. The Spanish were defeated by the Scottish Highlanders in the swamps and marsh on the outskirts of the town. The Spaniards retreated and returned to Florida on the 13th.
    Spanish Engineer Pedro de Brozas completes the vaulting on three sides of Castillo de San Marcos in 1751. Fort Mose was rebuilt near the settlements first site, reinforced for better defense and protection from invaders. The earthen works are extended to complete northernmost defense of St. Augustine.
    Don Alonzo Fernandez de Herrera, as Governor of Florida, had the fort finished and erected the tablet over the main entrance in alto relievo, high relief. Herrera also organized the inhabitants of Mose into an official military company with a battery of four guns, for the defense of the city against the British. In Europe, England enters into the Seven Years War against France.
    Spain allied with the French against England during the Seven Years War, called the French Indian War in the Americas. In June of 1762, the British attacked the city of Havana with a force of almost 26,000 men. By August 14th the British captured Havana but sickness had taken its toll. Over 5,000 men died of Yellow Fever during the British siege; only 1,000 deaths were attributed to the battle.
    The Treaty of Paris was signed February 10, 1763 officially ending the Seven Years War in Europe and its counter part, the French and Indian War in the Americas. Spain regained control of Cuba, Louisiana, and the Philippines but ceded Florida and Minorca to the British. The British gained control of Canada and Senegal from the French.
    In accordance with the Treaty of Paris (1763) the Spanish inhabitants of St. Augustine prepare to leave the city in 1764 as Florida is ceded to the British. Most evacuate to Cuba, including the free blacks of Mose. The British divide Florida into two colonies, East and West Florida. James Grant is appointed Governor of East Florida, with John Moultrie serving as Lieutenant Governor. George Johnstone served as first Governor of West Florida. The British rule Florida until 1783.
    Dr. Andrew Turnbull, a Scottish physician, established the New Smyrna colony in 1768 with the aid of his partner, Sir William Duncan. Around 1,400 indentured servants were gathered in the Mediterranean and brought to Florida, one of the largest immigrations to the Americas to date. A majority of these colonists were Minorcan, Greek, or Italian. The New Smyrna colony was located 60 miles south of St. Augustine and ruins of it can be seen to this day.
    The ‘shot heard around the world’ was fired on the Lexington battlefield beginning the American Revolution on April 18, 1775. The British retreated from Lexington and moved toward Boston, followed by the Americans who kill over 250 British along the way. By the 23rd over 13,600 Americans were mobilized throughout New England.
    The American Continental Congress officially endorses the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. 55 members of the 13 Colonies sign the document on August 2nd. The Declaration justified the independence of the United States by listing grievances against King George III, and by asserting certain natural rights, including the right to revolt.
    In 1777 the colonists of New Smyrna sent a plea to Henry Younge in St. Augustine for aid, as only 600 of the 1400 settlers had survived the initial 9 years on Turnbull plantation. Led by Francisco Pellicer, the colonists made the 60-mile walk to St. Augustine in 3 days and established themselves in St. Augustine. Descendants of these Minorcans remain in St. Augustine to this day.
    St. Augustine-based British troops march toward Savannah. The United Colonies (Americans) and France become commercial and military allies against the British.