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Fascinating Historic Sites in St. Augustine

Author: Beni Restea
by Beni Restea
Posted: Sep 21, 2020

When compared to those in many other countries, cities in America have relatively short histories. After all, the United States is a rather young country as a whole, with only two hundred or so years of history behind it. Alongside those on the mainlands of the old powers in Europe, Asia and Africa, American cities seem to still be in their infancy.

But there’s one American city that predates the foundation of our nation by well over two hundred years. This city, quietly sequestered on the northeastern shore of Florida, has a rich and storied history that is completely unknown to many.

It was in this city that one of the first European colonies was founded, and the oldest continuously inhabited one at that. Battles were fought over it, and ownership of it changed hands several times before the territory within which it was located was incorporated into the Union after being purchased from Spain. This city? St. Augustine!

Today, the city of Saint Augustine Florida is home to a plethora of fascinating historical sites, many of which are well preserved and can be visited by those interested in learning more about colonial-era history. We’ll talk more about these later, but for now let’s briefly recap the history of St. Augustine!

The history of the city of St. Augustine

St. Augustine was founded in 1565, by Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilés. Little more than a military fortification, St. Augustine was just one of the many such military outposts set up by the Spanish during the colonial period. In keeping with the Spanish approach to colonization, the Fort was built to protect Spain’s military, trade and territorial interests on the peninsula, and its site was chosen with these goals in mind.

First and foremost on the minds of the founders of this colony was the ongoing military conflict with France in the new world. French colonists had constructed a settlement forty miles north of the Spanish settlement at St. Augustine, and Spanish forces were promptly dispatched to attack the settlement after construction of fortifications was complete.

After several military victories against the French, the Spanish successfully defended their claims in the new world and established a strong foothold in Florida. However, things would not be peaceful for long. With the outbreak of the Anglo-Spanish war and the deterioration of relations with the neighboring Native American tribes, dark times were on the horizon for St. Augustine.

During and after the war, St. Augustine would be sacked, burned and overrun by the British, but it was never successfully captured. Ultimately, the city would see the erection of a stone-and-mortar construction fort, which made its capture by rival forces far more difficult, essentially rendering the city unconquerable.

Peace was ultimately reached during the Seven Year war, when St. Augustine and a number of other territories were ceded to Britain by Spain in exchange for various territorial gains elsewhere. As the years went by, St. Augustine changed hands back to the Spanish for the last time before being assimilated into the United States.

Historical attractions in St. Augustine

Today, St. Augustine is a bustling, forward-facing city. Modern and traditional houses stand side by side lining the well paved streets, while elegant fountains adorn the city square. But if you look past the sophisticated trappings of modern society, the remnants of this once rough and crude settlement can be found, steadfast reminders of events long lost to the pages of history.

This city has plenty of things to see and do; but what does the city of St. Augustine have in the way of historical attractions? Well, there are quite a few. From imposing fortresses to towering lighthouses and well maintained museums, there are plenty of things to capture and hold the attention of any history enthusiast who makes St. Augustine their vacation destination. Let's take a look, shall we?

Castillo de San Marcos

Named after St. Mark, this imposing fortress was built in 1695 to defend against raids by English buccaneers during the Anglo-Spanish war. This monument to the staunch will of Spanish colonists holds a number of honors among historical sites in America. As the oldest stone and mortar fortress in the continental U.S. and the oldest intact structure in St. Augustine, it's a must see for every history buff that wants to visit this city!

Today, the fort offers plenty of things to see and do, all more than enough to fill a day or two of your vacation itinerary. Tours are held daily, and if you plan it right, you might even get to see the cannons being fired! Or, you can just walk around and imagine what it must have been like to love during this fort's heyday, and take part in the epic battles fought for control of it. However you spend your time here, this is an attraction you can't miss.

Governor's House Cultural Center and Museum

Located in the heart of historic St. Augustine, this beautiful but unassuming building has been the seat of several colonial governments since it was built in 1598. Housing governments during the Spanish and British mandates, this building is home to a long and storied history that predates The foundation of the U.S. by nearly a century.

Today, the structure houses a museum that showcases the rich, multicultural history of the region in which St. Augustine is situated, with archaeological and cultural exhibits from the various different periods of St. Augustine's history. The museum is open Monday through Friday; make sure it's on your to-do list when you visit St. Augustine!

Flagler College

Before the founding of Flagler College, this site was the home of the famous Ponce de Leon hotel. Built in 1888 by Standard Oil co-founder Henry Flagler, this opulent hotel was among the most luxurious in the state, and is archetypical of the antebellum south. Today, Flagler College is built around the hotel, and is one of the most beautiful groups of structures in the state.

If you want to visit the Flagler College, you're in luck: the college offers informative tours of the college and former hotel that delve into the deep and fascinating history of this historic site. If you enjoy history and are visiting St. Augustine, you can't miss it!


The city of St. Augustine is home to some of the most fascinating history and historical sights on the northeastern coast of Florida. Centuries-old fortresses, buildings and museums immortalize history, while those with bloodlines that go centuries back can recount events as they were recounted to them by their ancestors.

If you want to move to this historical city, the best way to go about doing that is by contacting the local real estate agents in St. Augustine FL. These professionals, experienced realtors know more about the city than anyone else, and are always happy to help out prospective home buyers. So give them a call; who knows? Before long, you just might be calling the city of St. Augustine home!

Did you enjoy this article? Want to leave some feedback, or ask a question? Leave us a comment in the comments section below! Our readers are our top priority and we value your feedback, so you can count on hearing back from us promptly. From our team to you, enjoy the city of St. Augustine!

About the Author

Beni Restea's experience in marketing and web development took him a long way, as he acquired the necessary skills to be a professional in digital marketing for the real estate industry.

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Author: Beni Restea

Beni Restea

Member since: Jul 15, 2019
Published articles: 16

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