on November 4, 2000
St. Augustine's most historically significant structure is the Castillo de San Marcos, a fort constructed by the Spanish between 1672 and 1695. As early as 1586 when Sir Francis Drake, whose fleet of twenty ships and two thousand men sacked and burned the town, the need to fortify this tiny garrison was seen. In 1668 Queen Mariana of Spain authorized the construction of a stone fortification after an attack by pirate Robert Searles. The fort was built of coquina, a type of shellstone indigenous to the area, and quarried from Anastasia Island. The Castillo has never been conquered. English General Oglethorpe tried in 1740 to capture the fort by firing from Anastasia Island. He wasn’t successful because he found his cannonballs made no impact on the Castillo due to the unusual consistency of coquina which absorbed the blast rather than crumbling.
The Castillo and Fort Matanzas have been under auspices of the National Park Service since 1933.
©Travelocity.com LP 2000-2009