Alternate Script for Ribera House Tape
/ Gold, God and Glory; these were the primary goals of early
Spanish explorers and conquistadors in the New World.
Yet for Pedro Menendez de Aviles in 1565, the founding of St.
Augustine brought little more than indebtedness and suffering.
No great wealth was to be discovered here; only hardwork, hardship
but because of the political, strategic and religious importance
of maintaining this frontier foothold, Spain persisted in holding
onto this military outpost for the next two centuries.
La Florida, as claimed by Spain, extended as far north as present
day New Foundland,
\ but the English and French had their own plans for the region.
Heated competition for the lands of North America led to many
conflicts both in Europe and in the new colonies
and St. Augustine was to fall victim to the resultant aggressions
on many occasions.
The first nine forts here were destroyed by termites, pirates, the
English, hostile Indians and dryrot
so finally in 1672, Spain allocated enough money and manpower to
Build a permanent stone fortress, the Castillo de San Marcos, which
still stands today.
The Castillo was the only structure in town to survive the English
seige of 1702.
Continuing aggression wrecked the native towns of Florida's interior
as the English enslaved the christian Indians and wiped out the
prosperous cattle ranches.
By 1705, St. Augustine and Pensacola were all that remained of
and new defense works constructed around the city made life a bit more
secure for local inhabitants as they rebuilt their homes once again.
Colonists on the Florida frontier became very skilled at adapting
themselves to the environment
For food they relied heavily on local sources, their gardens,
their citrus trees,
the tidal marshes,
and the game that friendly Indians brought to sell.
They built their houses of local materials including tabby, a
kind of oyster shell concrete,
and coquina, a shellstone quarried on Anastasia Island.
Homes were designed to make use of the forces of nature
by capturing summer breezes
and sealing off winter winds with windowless north walls.
Since many Spanish soldiers married Indians, homelife reflected
the influence of native customs
corn was pounded into meal
yards were swept
oysters were gathered and schucked
and herbs were used as medicines as they had been for centuries.
As a garrison community, St. Augustine had always been supplied by
Spain with both civilian and military supplies
yet extended periods of scarcity in the 1700's forced local residents
to turn to contraband trade.
English merchandise, though usually illegal, became available in local
and privateers became a common site in town.
What was life like in Spanish St. Augustine during the 1740's and 50's?
How did the city change after they left?
Step back into the past in our authentically restored 18th century
Spanish neighborhood where lives and lifestyles are recreated daily for
Tickets are available and tours begin at the Gallegos House
across the street.
From there your path will lead through the yards,
and shops of this unique colonial community.
Bienvenidos, Welcome to San Agustin Antiguo, the State of Florida's
living history museum for our nation's oldest city.