The establishment of Charleston by the English in 1670, and the threat of occupation by the pirate Robert Searles finally made the Spanish Crown willing to invest seriously in St. Augustine as a strategic military point in Spain’s protection of her Caribbean possessions.
The construction of a stone fort was begun in 1672 and completed in 1695. During that time the garrison was enlarged and strengthened, as English designs on Spanish Florida became ever more aggressive.
The strengthening of the garrison and an influx of immigrants and refugees to St. Augustine caused the town to grow dramatically after 1700 both in size and population. It became in many ways more diverse and more connected to the larger world. Trade opportunities increased through both legal and illegal means, and attempts of develop local agricultural industries began.
This growth ended abruptly in 1763, however, when Florida was traded to England in exchange for Cuba at the end of the Seven Years’ War. Nearly the entire population—Spaniards, Christian Indians and Africans—left St. Augustine and went to Cuba.
|1680||English and Yamassee incursions into Guale Spanish missions cause their abandonment.|
|1686||Governor Miguel de Cabrera attacks and destroys English settlement of Port Royal in Carolina.|
|1702||James Moore, Slave trader and Governor of Carolina, attacks St. Augustine. 1,445 people are held under siege for 51 days in the Castillo de San Marcos until English withdrawl. Moore burns virtually the entire town before his departure.|
|1704||James Moore and Yamassee forces raid and destroy most of Florida's interior missions.|
|1715||Yamassee and Creek Indians stage an uprising against the English in the Carolinas. Hundreds of Yamassee seek refuge and protection in St. Augustine.|
|1728||Col. John Palmer attacks outskirts of St. Augustine to wreak revenge on Yamassees and escaped slaves. He kills 30 Yamassee, and destroys the chapel of Nombre de Dios without any resistance from the Spanish forces.|
|1733||English General James Oglethorpe establishes Ft. Frederica on St. Simons Island, Georgia, less than 100 miles from St. Augustine.|
|1739||War of Jenkins Ear between Spain and Great Britain over trade controversies in the Caribbean.|
|1740||Oglethorpe attacks St. Augustine, and holds the town and its 2,500 inhabitants under siege for three months before withdrawing.|
|1742||Governor Manuel de Montiano attacks Fort Frederica but is defeated in the Battle of Bloody Marsh.|
|1743||Oglethorpe's forces raid St. Augustine, but fail to capture the town.|
|1743-1763||An uneasy truce.|
|1763||Florida is ceded to England in exchange for Cuba at the end of the Seven Years War.|