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Historical Timeline

The exploration of the New World and the eventual founding of St. Augustine grew out of the Renaissance, the "re-awakening" of interest in art, music, literature, science, exploration, and learning of all kind. When the Turks captured Constantinople, a center for knowledge, the learned men there fled west to Italy. The invention of the printing press made the written word more readily available, and ideas spread throughout Europe. One of these ideas was Protestantism, a major cause in the clash between the French and Spanish in Florida.


1453: Ottoman Turks capture Constantinople

1454: Gutenberg perfects printing with moveable type

1469: Marriage of Ferdinand & Isabella, uniting Spain

1480: Spanish Inquisition begins

1485: Henry VII defeats Richard III ending War of the Roses in England

1492: Spain pushes Moors out of Granada after 800 years and expels Jews from Spain

1503: Da Vinci paints "Mona Lisa"

1509: Henry VIII becomes king of England; African slave trade with the New World begins

1517: Martin Luther nails his 95 Theses to church door, launching Protestant Reformation Coffee introduced into Europe

1519: Magellan begins round-the-world voyage

1558: Elizabeth I becomes Queen of England

1570: Spanish introduce potato to Europe

1572: St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre in France--Hundreds of Huguenots killed by Catholics

1588: The defeat of the Spanish Armada by Sir Francis Drake

Queen Elizabeth I

1590: Shakespeare writes his first play

1611: King James Bible written

1633: Galileo is forced to renounce theories of Copernicus.

1649: King Charles I of England is beheaded; Oliver Cromwell becomes "Lord Protector"

1661: Louis XIV builds Versailles

1666: The Great Fire of London

1685: Johann Sebastian Bach born

1701-1714: War of Spanish Succession

1756-1763: Seven Years War (French and Indian War in North America)

1789: French Revolution begins

1808: Napoleon invades Spain


While art and science were flourishing in Europe, explorers from Spain and other European countries were seeking wealth and land in the New World.

1492: Columbus' first voyage to America

1497: Giovanni Caboto (John Cabot), an Italian hired by England, lands in North America

1513: Juan Ponce de Leon explores Florida

1519: Cortes conquers Mexico

1521: Ponce de Leon fatally wounded in Florida

1532: Pizarro explores Peru

1534: Jacques Cartier explores the St. Lawrence River for France

1539: DeSoto begins four-year exploration of North America

1543: The survivors of the DeSoto Expedition arrive in Mexico after wandering for 2000 miles

1562: Jean Ribault explores coast of Florida and founds Charlesfort on present-day Parris Island, SC

1564: Laudonniere establishes Fort Caroline on the St. Johns River, on land claimed by Spain

1565: Pedro Menendez founds St. Augustine; French attempt to attack, but are blown off course and wrecked; French massacred

1569: First wooden watchtower built at Matanzas Inlet

1582: Spanish settle Santa Fe (New Mexico)

1585: Raleigh's unsuccessful colony at Roanoke (present-day NC)

1586: Drake sacks and burns St. Augustine

1607: Jamestown Virginia founded by English


1608: Quebec founded by French

1614: Dutch establish Nieuw Amsterdam colony (later New York)

1619: First African slaves arrive in North America

1620: Plimouth Plantation founded by Pilgrims in Massachusetts

1622: The Spanish treasure ship Atocha sinks in a hurricane 25 miles off present-day Key West

1668: English pirate Robert Searles sacks St. Augustine

1670: Charles Town (SC) founded by British

1672: Construction begins on Castillo de San Marcos

1686: Pirates capture Matanzas Watchtower

1692: Salem Massachusetts witch panic and trials

1695: Castillo construction completed

1702: Gov. Moore of Charles Town attacks St. Augustine

1704: Cubo Line built as inner defense line in St. Augustine

1715: Entire Spanish treasure fleet for that year sunk off southern Florida coast in a hurricane

1732: George Washington born in Virginia

1733: James Oglethorpe establishes Savannah

1738: Spanish grant freedom to slaves who escape to Florida; they establish Fort Mose

1740: Oglethorpe attacks St. Augustine

1740-1742: Fort Matanzas built

1741-1743: Oglethorpe makes several attempts against Fort Matanzas

1742: Battle of Bloody Marsh--Spanish repulsed by British at Frederica on St. Simon's Island, Georgia

1754-1763: French and Indian War

1764: Florida becomes English colony by treaty (First Treaty of Paris)

1769: Minorcans arrive at New Smyrna Plantation

1776: American colonies declare independence from England

1779: Spain enters war in support of the American colonies

1783: American Revolution ends; Spain regains Florida (Second Treaty of Paris)

1809: Abraham Lincoln born

1812: Fort Matanzas fires warning shot at US ship during Patriots' War

1815: Battle of New Orleans--last battle of War of 1812

1818: Andrew Jackson illegally invades Florida and seizes fort at San Marcos de Apalache, south of present-day Tallahassee

1819: Simon Bolivar secures independence of Columbia from Spain

Henry Flagler of St. Augustine
Henry Flagler


1821: Florida becomes a US territory; Fort Matanzas taken out of service

1822: Brazil gains independence from Portugal

1823: Monroe Doctrine

1825: Castillo renamed Fort Marion for Francis Marion, Rev. War hero

1837: Osceola is imprisoned at Fort Marion (the Castillo) during Second >Seminole War

1845: Florida admitted to the Union as the 27th state

1861-1865: Civil War; St. Augustine in Union hands from March 1862

1874: St. Augustine Lighthouse completed

1886: Apaches imprisoned at Ft. Marion

1888: Henry Flagler opens the Ponce de Leon Hotel in St. Augustine

1899: Spanish-American War

1911: Florida East Coast Canal (Intracoastal Waterway), west of Fort Matanzas, is dredged

1912: Flagler's Florida East Coast Railroad reaches Key West

1927: Bridge of Lions completed

1942: Congress returns the name "Castillo de San Marcos" to Fort Marion

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