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Castillo de San Marcos: History is Just Around The Corner

st augustine castillo de san marcos

Constructed by the Spanish between 1672 and 1675 to fortify the tiny garrison town against invasion as well as to defend the primary trade route to Europe and the Gulf Stream, the Castillo de San Marcos is a historically significant structure.  Throughout its history, the many flags which have flown over it reflect the colonization of the New World and North America.  All changes in occupation of the fort came about not by force, but through military agreements or political treaty. It was occupied by military forces for more than 250 years before being deactivated and taken over by the National Park System.

Constructed by the Spanish between 1672 and 1675 to fortify the tiny garrison town against invasion as well as to defend the primary trade route to Europe and the Gulf Stream, the Castillo de San Marcos is a historically significant structure.  Throughout its history, the many flags which have flown over it reflect the colonization of the New World and North America.  All changes in occupation of the fort came about not by force, but through military agreements or political treaty. It was occupied by military forces for more than 250 years before being deactivated and taken over by the National Park System.

Constructed of a form of a shell stone called coquina quarried from Anastasia Island, the fortress is unique in North American architecture.  The only extant 17th century military construction in the country and the oldest masonry fortress in the continental U.S., it is an example of the bastion system of fortification.

The Castillo is a “walk-in” park. A visit to the Castillo is self-guided, with many ways to experience it.  On-site brochures and maps guide visitors around.  Explore the fortress by wandering through the fort’s casements and taking in the exhibits.  Throughout the day, Park Rangers give a variety of interpretive talks on the history and culture of the Park.  A video, shown every hour, features cannon and musket firing sequences as well as an outline of the Castillo’s intricate history.  Re-enactors in period dress around the fort often give historical weapons demonstrations as well as presentations of the life and experiences of the colonists who lived there.    

Related Articles

The Castle is Begun

Posted on March 27, 2018

The story of the fortifications built along the southeast east coast of what is now the United States begins in the mid-16h century with the European explorations of the northern hemisphere. Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine survives to tell the story of the battle for trade domination, power and wealth.

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