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-hepople Lesson Plans
Settling in Spanish America
Prepared by Jay Gavitt
Intended grades: 7th to12th
Subject Areas: U.S. History and Geography
Correlation to the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards:
6.1: Utilizing historical thinking, problem solving, and research skills to maximize
their understanding of civics, history, geography, and economics;
6.3: Demonstrating knowledge of world history; and
6.4: Demonstrating knowledge of United States history in order to understand life
and events in the past and how they relate to the present and future.
Students will examine and utilize primary sources including the "Royal Ordinances
for New Towns" and Spanish colonial maps._Students will use the ordinances to
select a location for settlement. Students will develop a town plan using the
ordinances._Students will compare their town plans with the Spanish settlement and
development of St. Augustine.
Approximate Time Required: 3 class periods
Copy of the modified "Royal Ordinances for New Towns" (provided).
Graph paper for town planning
Maps of St. Augustine
St. Augustine, Florida 1586
St. Augustine, Florida 1770's
St. Augustine, Florida City and Port 1760's
http://web.uflib.ufl.edu/d iqital/collections/Teachers/maps. htm
Graphic Organizer for comparing student's settlement with the Spanish settlement at
Students will be given an outline map of a coastal area in Spanish Florida. This
outline map should be created from St. Augustine, Florida 1586. The map should not
be titled and only geographic features should be noted on the map. Rivers, bay,
oceans, marsh lands, mountains, etc.
Students will be asked to read the "Royal Ordinances for New Towns" to find out
where the King feels a settlement should be located. Using this information, students
will select the best location on the map for settlement.
The students in class will be asked to share their location and reasoning with the
class or as a written assignment. The students will then be shown the actual
settlement location for St. Augustine so that they can compare their location with it.
Students will be given a piece of graph paper. While examining the remaining "Royal
Ordinances for New Towns", they will be asked to plan their new town using the
ordinances. Students may need assistance with terms that they are not familiar with.
You may wish to have students highlight the important passages in the ordinances
that apply directly to their town.
The students will then share their town plans with other members of the class. The
class will be given an enlarged copy of the upper right hand quarter of St. Augustine,
Florida 1586 which shows the early development of St. Augustine. Students will be
asked to compare their town plan with St. Augustine in 1586.
It may be useful to provide students with a graphic organizer on which to compare
their town plan with St. Augustine. Students might also like to use
St. Augustine, Florida 1770's and St. Augustine, Florida City and Port 1760's to
see how St. Augustine developed over time. They may also wish to evaluate St.
Augustine's development with respect to the "Royal Ordinances".
This map is an imaginary seacoast area somewhere in Spanish America. Assume
that you are a Spanish settler and this is where your party has landed. The following
are your King's "Royal Ordinances for New Towns." You must obey these rules as
you select, plan, and build your new town.
Examine the outline map of the coastline with its different geographic areas. Read
the "Royal Ordinances for New Towns" and use them to help you select your
settlement site. You will need to be able to explain why you selected the particular
For the second part of the assignment you will need to provide the King with a plan
for you town. Using your graph paper you will begin the develop your town plan. Use
a pencil because you will need to make changes on your town as you read through
the "Royal Ordinances". You might want to read through all the ordinances before
Study the first five ordinances carefully before you begin laying out your design.
"ROYAL ORDINANCES FOR NEW TOWNS, &c"
San Lorenzo, July 3, 1573. I the King. Ordinances for discoveries, new
settlements, and pacifications.
Royal Ordinance 110... having chosen the land to be settled and arrived at the
place where the town will be built, they must make a plan for the new town. The
plazas, streets and building lots must be laid out exactly, beginning with the main
plaza. Next, the settlers must lay out the streets, gates, and important roads. The
plan must always leave enough open space so the town can continue to grow
according to these ordinances,
Royal Ordinance 111... the town must be located on ground which is not low or
swampy. There must be land for farming and pasture, fuel and wood for building,
fresh water, and a native people nearby. The town gates should open to the north
wind. If the site is on the coast, the town should be a port, but do not have the sea to
the south or to the west. Lagoons and marshes in which are found poisonous
animals or diseased air and water should not be nearby.
Royal Ordinance 112... if the town is on the seacoast, the main plaza should be at
the ship landing place. If the town lies inland, the plaza must be a rectangle, with the
long side equal to one and one-half times the width. This is the best shape for
fiestas, especially those in which horses are used.
Royal Ordinance 113... the plaza shall be small or large depending on the number
of settlers, but do not forget that in new towns the population should grow. The plaza
must be no less than 200 feet wide and 300 feet long. A good size is 600 feet long
and 400 feet wide.
Royal Ordinance 114... from the plaza shall run four main streets must run from the
plaza, one starting from the center of each side. At each corner of the plaza, two
streets should begin, and should line up with the sides of the plaza.
Choose a place and size for your plaza. Lay it out on your graph paper along with
the major streets.
Royal Ordinance 116... in cold places the streets should be wide; in hot place they
should be narrow. However, if horses will be used to help defend te town, the streets
should be wide.
Royal Ordinance 117... the streets should go from the main plaza in ways that will
not cause problems or crowding when the town grows.
Royal Ordinance 118... if the town will be large, smaller plazas must be laid out
here and there for new churches and monasteries.
Add to your town buildings as described in the next ordinances.
Royal Ordinance 119... if the town is on the coast, the first cathedral must be built
facing the plaza, so it can be seen when arriving by sea. This building should also
serve as a means of defense for the port.
Royal Ordinance 120... the building lots for the cathedral and other nearby church
buildings must be assigned first. Buildings not related to the church must be kept
some distance away.
Royal Ordinance 121... the next building lots to be chosen must be for a house for
the royal council, a custom house, and an arsenal. These must be near the
cathedral and port so that in times of battle they will help defend each other.
The hospital for the poor and those sick with non-contagious diseases must be built
near the church buildings. The hospital for those with contagious diseases must be
built so te wind will not blow from it toward the rest of town.
Royal Ordinance 122... the building lots for slaughterhouses, fisheries, tanneries,
and other things which cause pollution must be placed where their waste is not a
Royal Ordinance 126... building lots around the plaza must not be used for family
houses. The buildings facing the plaza will be the cathedral, other buildings the
church may need, buildings used for the King's business, and shops.
The first buildings to be build facing the plaza will be the shops. All settlers must help
build these shops. Anyone who buys from the merchants must pay a fair tax, to help
pay for the shop building.
Royal Ordinance 127... the other building lots near the plaza will be given to the
settlers by lottery. The lots further away from the plaza will be kept for later settlers,
and for other buildings the town might need. The town must always keep a plan
showing were new buildings and streets will be built.
Royal Ordinance 128... after the town plans are finished and each settler has a
building lot, each settler must set up his tent on his lot. Those who do not have tents
must build huts so they have shelter.
As soon as possible all settlers must make a wall or ditch around the town so that
they may protect themselves from Indians,
Royal Ordinance 129... an open pasture field must be prepared near the town. The
pasture must be large so there will always be plenty of room for the people to go for
recreation and room for the cattle to be pastured without danger.
Student's reasons for the selection of their settlement's site.
Student's comparison to the actual St. Augustine site.
Student's highlighting of the major ideas in the "Royal Ordinances".
Student's application of the "Royal Ordinances" to their town plan.
Student's comparison of their plan with St. Augustine.
Student analysis of the St. Augustine settlement.
Maps of St. Augustine
Copy of the modified "Royal Ordinances for New Towns"
Nuttall, Zelia. "Ordinances concerning the Laying out of new Towns", The Hispanic
American Historical Review. November, 1921, Vol. IV, No.4, pp. 743-753.