"Cannon Firing" by NPS Photo , public domain
Castillo de San Marcos
Official brochure of Castillo de San Marcos National Monument (NM) in Florida. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
B National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior eginning in the 1500s, many European powers, including Spain, France, and Great Britain, were fighting for control in the New World. With wealthy trade and territory at stake, how could they defend their colonial outposts from enemy attack? In 1565, Spain established St. Augustine to protect its Gulf Stream shipping route and anchor its claim to La Florida (roughly today’s Florida and parts of surrounding states). By the early 1600s, British colonies encroaching from the north threatened the city. The Spanish built nine wooden forts before constructing the stone fort that stands today, preserved as part of Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. From its first stones to its later massive walls, Castillo de San Marcos was constructed between 1672 and 1695. Once completed, this structure never fell in battle. Outdoor Exhibits Look for these informational signs around the park and inside the Castillo. Accessibility We strive to make our facilities, services, and programs accessible to all. For information ask a ranger, call, visit our website, or download the park app. More Information Castillo de San Marcos National Monument is one of over 400 parks in the National Park System. To learn more about national parks, visit www.nps.gov. Covered Way Between the glacis and the moat is the covered (covert) way, where defending soldiers could move safely around the exterior. Spain’s Coat of Arms This coat of arms represents Spain’s united kingdoms: Castile (castle) and León (lion). The original coat of arms was placed on the fort in 1756. Glacis The sloping embankment around the fort protected the lower walls from enemy fire. Covered way Sentry Box This small tower sheltered guards during their watch. Castillo de San Marcos National Monument Florida Tour the Castillo The fort is open daily, year-round, except Thanksgiving and December 25. There is an entrance fee. Bell tower Moat Mailing address: Castillo de San Marcos National Monument 1 S. Castillo Dr. St. Augustine, FL 32084 904-829-6506 www.nps.gov/casa IGPO:2021—416-165/82665 New in 2021 Printed on recycled paper. ALL IMAGES—NPS EXCEPT CANNON FIRING— © DAWNA MOORE; SALLY PORT— © TORE BERG Moat Mostly dry, the moat had no resident alligators, but domestic animals were kept here in time of siege. City gate St. Augustine Founded in 1565, this Spanish city was a rich melting pot of cultures. Europeans, Native Americans, and Africans lived and worked here, bringing their customs and traditions to the city. Cubo Line After the English overran and burned St. Augustine in 1702, the Spanish built a wall around the city. Originally, the Cubo Line was an earthen bank, fronted by sharp yucca plants, that stretched from the fort a half mile west to the San Sebastian River. In 1808, the walls were upgraded to include palm logs and a 40-foot-wide moat on the north side. West of the city gate, three artillery redoubts (a type of fortification) provided additional protection. City Gate Beginning in 1739, people entered St. Augustine through a wooden gate. These stone pillars were constructed in 1808 as part of a major upgrade of the town’s walled defenses. Theater room 5 4 Courtyard 3 Stairs Hot shot furnace 2 Water Battery In 1842, US Army engineers filled the east side of the moat with earth to create a battery of cannons along the water. Terreplein 1 Moat Matanzas Bay Drawbridge Bastion Drawbridge Glacis Crosswalk An accessible route leads into the fort from the parking area. Ravelin Never fully completed, the ravelin shielded the entrance from attack. Covered way Explore the Castillo Buy tickets at the entrance station, then head into the Castillo through the sally port. Your tour is self-guiding, so go at your own pace. We recommend at least two hours. Programs are scheduled throughout the day. Glacis Some rooms are historically furnished to recreate their original purpose. Others now house museum exhibits or serve as administrative offices or facilities like restrooms. Download the park app for more options to explore the Castillo and grounds. Castillo de San Marcos Entrance Station Accessible route The Castillo is little changed from the time it was built. Surfaces are uneven and can be slippery. Do not sit, stand, or climb on walls or cannons. Federal law protects all features. For complete safety information and regulations, including firearms information, visit the park website. Parking Paid parking is available in the lot in front of the Castillo and the public parking garage located one block northwest of the fort at 1 Cordova Street. Features Inside Castillo de San Marcos Enjoy reenactments like this cannon-firing demonstration. 1 Sally Port The drawbridge leads to the sally port, the fort’s only entrance and exit. The 14foot-thick walls give a sense of the fort’s strength. 2 Guard Rooms Spanish soldiers lived in town with their families unless on guard duty. During their 24-hour rotation, guards occupied these quarters. 3 Museum Exhibits Explore over 450 years of history in the exhibit rooms: Florida’s origins, fort design and construction, everyday life in the fort and city, and the Castillo’s preservation. 4 Storage Rooms Food, tools, and other items were kept safe and dry here. A remote outpost, St. Augustine depended on supplies from the Castillo, especially in time of siege. 5 Meet the People Spanish and other Europeans, Native Americans, and Africans have passed through St. Augustine. Exhibits share some of the history of these cultural intersections. Living Seawall Built in 2011, the “living” seawall protects the historic wall and provides habitat for marine life. With today’s rising water levels, this submerged structure is more important than ever. Castillo de San Marcos English forces from the Carolina colony made a preemptive strike on St. Augustine by land and sea. They quickly overtook the Spanish city and its surrounding outposts. “Although I have seen many castillos of consequence and reputation,” La Florida’s governor said to Spain’s king in 1675, “this one is not surpassed by any of those with greater character.” But could Castillo de San Marcos withstand an enemy attack? supplies and bombarding the walls. The Castillo’s coquina-stone walls held, absorbing the cannon fire instead of shattering. By the end of December, Spanish reinforcements arrived from Havana, Cuba, and the outnumbered English burned St. Augustine to the ground in their retreat. The Spanish rebuilt the city and added earthwork defenses. Around 1,500 Spanish civilians and soldiers were already secured in the Castillo with two months of provisions. For several weeks, the English laid siege and attempted to gain entrance, cutting off A few years after its 1695 completion, European nations were again at war, and the colonies were dragged into the conflict. In November 1702, St. Augustine Castillo de San Marcos Fort Mose Fort Matanzas St. Augustine under British rule, 1764 LIBRARY OF CONGRESS r ive sR a z an Mat s Matanza In 1740, the Castillo again fended off the English when British Gen. James Oglethorpe besieged the town for over a month, before giving up and returning to the Georgia colony. When the British finally took possession of Florida in 1763, it was through political negotiation, not by force. r Rive Protecting St. Augustine © PETER DUTTON Present Day Volunteer reenactors bring the Castillo to life when demonstrating historical crafts, foods, medicines, tools, and weapons. HARGRETT RARE BOOK AND MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY / UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA LIBRARIES 1875 The US Army brings Native peoples from Plains and Apache Tribes to Fort Marion, pressuring them to adopt Christianity and learn the English language. Some record the experience in ledger art (below). Anastasia Island Atlantic Ocean © DR. HERMAN VIOLA © GERARDO AMECHAZURRA Coquina shells Timucua Spanish arriving in the 1500s encounter the Timucua people who live throughout northeast Florida, including the coastal village of Seloy where Pedro Menéndez de Aviles lands. NPS / BETSY EHRLICH Coquina stone NPS / BETSY EHRLICH Coquina Stone The Castillo is made out of cut coquina stone— tiny seashells compressed into limestone over thousands of years. Locally quarried and easy to cut, coquina was suitable for military construction and withstood cannon fire. It has helped the Castillo stand for 350 years. Cut stone walls 1565 Menédez establishes St. Augustine on a defensible harbor. Warfare quickly ensues with French Protestants at Fort Caroline and the Matanzas Inlet. 1586 English forces under Sir Francis Drake attack and burn St. Augustine. Spanish soldier NPS / DAVID W. RICKMAN 1702 The Castillo is a refuge for the Spanish during a 51-day siege of St. Augustine. The retreating English forces burn the city (above). 1740 The Castillo withstands Oglethorpe’s 37-day siege. To defend against a southern approach to the city, construction begins on Fort Matanzas (above). NPS / STEVEN N. PATRICIA NPS 1893 Reinforced seawalls support iron gun platforms (below). Artillery in the water battery could threaten ships miles away. 1830s Osceola (right) leads the Seminoles in armed resistance against US-forced relocation. Some, including Osceola, are held at Fort Marion; others escape to the swamps. 1942–45 US Coast Guard graduation ceremonies at Fort Marion. NPS 1924 Forts Matanzas and Marion (Castillo de San Marcos) are proclaimed national monuments. In 1933, both are transferred from the War Department to the National Park Service. NPS / DAVID W. RICKMAN Left: Timucuan stone projectile point Right: Fish bone hairpin or needle CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE COURTESY CITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE ARCHAEOLOGY 1500s Spain claims southern and western North America. France claims Mississippi River basin and Canada. Late 1500s England aims to colonize eastern North America. 1565 The Spanish build the first of nine wooden forts to defend St. Augustine. 1500 1619 First enslaved Africans are brought to Virginia. 1672–95 The Spanish build Castillo de San Marcos to protect St. Augustine. The moat, quarters, bastions, ravelin, and seawall are finished by 1695. 1600 1513 Juan Ponce de León’s exploration leads Spain to claim Florida. 1564 French Protestants (Huguenots) establish Fort Caroline about 40 miles north of St. Augustine on land claimed by Spain. Trade Routes For a time, Spain was the dominant European power in the New World. Trade, an important source of wealth, had to be protected at all costs. St. Augustine was an ideal location to defend the Gulf Stream route. As England and France encroached from the north, Castillo de San Marcos symbolized Spain’s military strength and readiness to fight. NPS / STEVEN N. PATRICIA 1701–14 1756−63 War of the Spanish Succession 1704–19 Defensive earthworks are built north and west of St. Augustine. Seven Years’ War 1740s–50s The Castillo is strengthened with curtain walls, bombproof rooms, and a larger ravelin. 1700 1670 The English encroach on Spanish claims, establishing Charles Towne (Charleston) and the Carolina colony. NPS 1763 A treaty gives Spanish Florida to Great Britain. The Spanish and a few remaining Timucua leave St. Augustine for Cuba. Galleon Nothing represents the golden age of Spanish trade like the galleon. This multi-deck sailing ship was designed for speedy cargo hauls and could be outfitted for warfare. 1775−83 American Revolutionary War 1763 The British take over Florida and change the Castillo’s name to Fort St. Mark. 1821 US ratifies Florida cession from Spain. 1825 Under US control, the Castillo is named Fort Marion. 1800 1783 A treaty resulting from the American Revolution returns Florida to Spain, but Spanish colonialism— and the Castillo itself—are in decline. 1861−65 US Civil War 1898 1914–18 SpanishWorld War I American War 1861–62 Confederate 1895 Florida’s first golf forces occupy Fort course is installed on Marion. Fort Marion’s grounds. 1900 1939–45 World War II 1964 Civil Rights Act 1942–45 Fort Marion and much of St. Augustine is used as a US Coast Guard training base. Present Castillo de San Marcos National Monument—site of the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States— recalls the beginnings of European ventures into new worlds. 2000 FLAGS—WIKIMEDIA COMMONS UNLESS OTHERWISE CREDITED The Castillo’s bell tower looks over Matanzas Bay. NPS / BETSY EHRLICH