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Castillo de San Marcos
Location: 11 South
Castillo Dr, St. Augustine, Florida
Description of Castillo de San Marcos
Castillo de San Marcos or Castle of Saint Mark is situated at 11
South Castillo Dr, St. Augustine, Florida in United States. The city
of San Agustín was founded by Spain in 1565. During its first
century of existence, nine wooden forts defended the position. After
the attack of the English pirate Robert Searle in 1668, it was
decided to build a stone castle to protect the city. The
construction of Castillo de San Marcos began on October 2, 1672 by
the Spanish army when it was part of the Spanish Empire.
Castillo de San Marcos is a star shaped
fortification built with coquina, a variety of limestone. The
workers were brought from Havana, Cuba. The coquina was extracted
from Anastasia Island, on the other side of the bay, and taken on
boats to the construction site. In 1695, after twenty-three years of
hard work, the fortress was ready.
In 1670, the English
founded Charles Town (today, Charleston, South Carolina) just two
days sailing from San Agustin. In November of 1702, forces under the
command of the governor of Carolina James Moore went to conquer the
city of San Augustin. The 1200 residents of San Augustín resisted
the attacks sheltered inside the castle for two months, together
with the garrison of some 300 soldiers.
The English artillery
was not effective against the walls of the Castillo de San Marcos,
thanks to the coquina, which proved very effective in absorbing the
impact of the bullets, and a fleet from Havana forced the British to
burn their ships, to prevent them from captured, and retreat by
land. Before setting out they set fire to the city, which was
After the site of 1702, Castillo de San
Marcos was rebuilt under the direction of engineer Pedro Ruiz de
Olano. The interior was redistributed and the wooden roofs were
replaced by stone vaults. The walls were increased by two meters.
In 1739 the War of the Seat broke out. General
James Oglethorpe put back the castle and blocked the mouth of the
Matanzas River, hoping to surrender it with a continuous
bombardment. However, a small Spanish ship was able to evade the
blockade and give notice to Havana, from where supplies were sent.
At 38 days the English ended the siege without having managed to
surrender the castle.
To protect Castillo de San Marcos from
future dangers and avoid the siege by land, the need to protect the
entrance to San Augustin through the Matanzas River was seen. To
this end, the Fort Matanzas (in English: Fort Matanzas National
Monument) was ordered to be built, which prevented future incursions
by land against the Castillo de San Marcos.
By the Treaty of
Paris (1763), which ended the Seven Years' War, Great Britain
obtained Florida in exchange for returning to Spain Havana and
Manila. The Castle lost its strategic importance until the American
Revolution. San Agustin became the capital of the British colony of
East Florida. The fortification was improved as a base of operations
of the British army in the south and was used as a prison.
With the Treaty of Paris (1783) and the end of the War of
Independence of the United States, Florida was returned to Spain.
The Spanish sovereignty over Florida only remained until 1819,
when by the Treaty of Adams-Onís Florida it was ceded to the United
States. In this period the castle did not star in any act of
The Americans renamed the Castillo de San Marcos to
Fort Marion. There were few changes, although some warehouses were
transformed into cells, which were used during the Seminole wars.
In January of 1861, Florida separated from the
United States as part of the Civil war. The garrison left the fort
and the Confederate army occupied it without a single shot. The
artillery was dismantled and sent to other places, leaving the
The castle and the city were recovered by
the warship USS Wabash that entered the bay on March 11, 1862
without encountering resistance. The castle continued to be used as
a military prison throughout the 19th century. In 1900 it lost its
military condition and in 1924 it was declared a national monument.
In 1942, he recovered the original name of «Castillo de San Marcos».