I can’t believe how many forts there are to visit, just along the southeast coast of the United States. Let’s see now. We’ve been to forts that are only archeological sites – Jamestown and Fort Raleigh. Fort Frederica has a few remaining ruins, and Fort Sumter and Fort Matanzas have been at least partially reconstructed. Two forts have been beautifully preserved – Fort Pulaski and Castillo de San Marcos. All of these forts (as well as a few that we missed) are managed by the National Park Service. There are also many other forts managed by states or private foundations. That’s a lot of military history. Although I never thought I was that interested in forts, I’ve become intrigued not only with the architecture, but also the history of each of the forts we’ve visited.
As we drove south, we entered what was once the Province of Florida, a part of Spain’s New World empire. St. Augustine is the oldest permanent European settlement in the continental United States and was the political, military and religious capital of Florida. Spain viewed St. Augustine primarily as a military base to protect Spain’s trade and commerce. The Castillo de San Marcos was the primary means of defense.
|Castillo de San Marcos National Monument|
|One of the Diamond-Shaped Bastions|
|The Plaza de Armas, or Courtyard|
|Even the Canon on the Gun Deck Are Lovely|
|The Fort Is Built of Coquina, a Local Stone Comprised of Shells|
|Wait, Don't Shoot|
|The Former Ponce de Leon Hotel Is Now Flagler College|
|St. George Street in the Colonial Spanish Quarter|
|Fort Matanzas National Monument|
|Protecting Matanzas Inlet|