Saturday, March 28, 2009

Fort Matanzas

Today we made our way to Fort Matanzas.

Before you get to see the pictures you have to first have your history lessons on the fort:

"the story of Fort Matanzas has been closely intertwined with that of the city of St. Augustine. Located fourteen miles north of Fort Matanzas, St. Augustine and the Castillo de San Marcos serve as outstanding reminders of the might of the early Spanish empire in the New World.

The area of the Matanzas inlet, now preserved within the park boundaries, was the scene of crucial events in Spanish colonial history. The massacre of French soldiers here in 1565 was Spain's opening move in establishing a colony in Florida. Later, the construction of Fort Matanzas in 1740-1742 was Spain's last effort to ward off British encroachments from the north.
Fort Matanzas represents a very well-preserved masonry watchtower fort built by the Spanish from 1740 to 1742. The tall tower provided a perch to observe vessels approaching St. Augustine from the south, and the cannon blocked potential enemy advancements up the Matanzas River, the backdoor to St. Augustine.

The Massacre at Matanzas In 1565, almost 175 years before construction began on Fort Matanzas, another story was played out at the Matanzas Inlet--the massacre of the French Huguenots. A large French force under Jean Ribault had left their settlement of Fort Caroline in Spanish-claimed territory near present-day Jacksonville to attack the Spanish at their new settlement of St. Augustine (San Agustin). A storm shipwrecked the French fleet farther south. When the Spanish discovered the French on the beach, they ordered them to surrender, give up their Protestant faith, and accept Catholicism. Being without weapons or food, they did surrender, but renounce their faith they refused to do. So the Spanish massacred nearly 250 Frenchmen as trespassers and heretics near the inlet which was then appropriately named "Matanzas", the Spanish word for massacre. This confrontation began 235 years of Spanish control in Florida. "

The fort was quite spectacular complete with men dressed up in Spanish military attire retelling the history of the fort.

A real treat if you are ever in St. Augustine. AND ITS FREE!!!

Ok so here are the pics:

We took this ferry from the dock over to the fort. The boat ride was about 5 minutes. Of course
the kids LOVED IT!

This was the fort - it has 3 levels and was set up as "real time" for the soldiers. The short beds, the rough blankets, the kettle hanging in the fire place for stew...Very Authentic!

These aren't great shots but I think you get the picture. The kids are climbing a narrow ladder through a narrow opening to get to the look out tower. I was scared senseless and the kids were just plain SENSELESS! They went up and down about a 100 times!!

These are the men playing the part of the Spanish military.

And as if the fort wasn't enough this place has UNBELIEVABLE trees and walking trails.

It was undoubtedly a GREAT DAY and a place we will be sure visit again!!!