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St Augustine: Fort Mose Florida

Fort Mose Florida

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The Old City of St Augustine Fla. is the site of many “firsts” in our country. Here, you can find the First Parish at the Cathedral Basilica, the first large scale resort and hotel at the former Ponce de Leon Hotel which is now a part of Flagler College. One of our nation’s first forts, the Castillo de San Marcos is also located here. What many do not realize, however, is that the Old City played a small, but significant role in the lives of escaped slaves well before Lincoln signed and read the Emancipation Proclamation, the document which gave freedom to all slaves living in the United States. Prior to the Revolution the Spanish colony of St Augustine established the first free black settlement in 1738. Read on to find out more about this historic and significant place, and plan to visit Fort Mose Florida, one of the most interesting St Augustine Florida Attractions.

While Africans were brought to America during the first landing in Florida, it was not until after the establishment of other European colonies that the population of slaves in our country grew exponentially. After seeing the Spanish succeed in establishing a colony in the New World, the English set out to establish their own place in America, and set up Charles Towne in 1670. In establishing the new colony, the planters and their families relied heavily on slave labor to establish their farms. Later, these forced, unpaid workers were typically the only ones to work the plantations. It was after seeing that the slave populations outnumbered the white European settlers to the north of Florida, that the Spanish monarchy and Florida’s Spanish Governor, Manuel de Moniano decided to make a decisive political move. The colony and city of St Augustine Fla. set up a fortified area within the city, where they allowed African slaves from the settlements and colonies to the north of Florida to come and live freely, if they would swear an allegiance to Spain. Many of the black slaves in places like Georgia and South Carolina followed an underground tunnel--much like the tunnel famously known as the Underground Railroad, that led to the North--which lead south to the freed slave colony, then called Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose, to escape the tyranny and terrible lives they encountered on the plantations.

The fortified settlement of free slaves consisted of about 100 Africans and about 20 households during its time as a sanctuary. Because of their heritage and historic lineage, the culture of the freed slaves that lived at Fort Mose was a mixture of African, Spanish, and Southern slave culture and thus, today, the historic landmark at Fort Mose tries to capture and tribute this way of life. After setting up Fort Mose, which is pronounced “Fort MoHsey”, the Spanish used the fort as the northern defense of the city. The freed African militia that operated the fort, was lead by a man of both Spanish and African origin, his name was Francisco Menendez.

Today, visitors can tour Fort Mose Florida and learn more about this dynamic and fascinating small community of freed slaves. Whereas many of their family members and descendents were not so fortunate, the freed slaves of Fort Mose lived much like the other Spanish settlers in St Augustine Fla. They enjoyed life as freed men, and because of this they flourished, creating and educating many in the community. As one of St Augustine's most unique historic St Augustine Florida Attractions, Fort Mose St Augustine Florida is a place that you do not want to miss if you love history.

Learn more about the Inn on Charlotte, St Augustine’s most welcoming St Augustine FL Bed and Breakfast. Located just minutes from your favorite Things to Do in St Augustine FL and all of the neat St Augustine Florida Attractions, the Inn on Charlotte is a wonderful place to stay if you are looking for lodging for a Florida Beach Getaway and fun filled Florida Beach Vacation to the Old City. Read on to learn more about all of the great Things to Do in St Augustine and peruse information on the St Augustine Florida Lighthouse, the Fountain of Youth Park, Marineland Florida, and all of the wonderful St Augustine Golf Courses.

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