As the number of soldiers sent to St. Augustine’s garrison increased, the demand for housing also grew. The area between the plaza and the Castillo was settled mostly during the time after 1670.

It seems that much of the property in St. Augustine was held and passed through women, since by the eighteenth century, virtually all of the full-time resident women in St. Augustine were criollas. Most of the men, however, were transient soldiers, often from Spain.

Houses were part of the criolla dowry, helping young women to make an advantageous marriage—ideally with a military man from Spain—and at the same time providing a place for the incoming men to live. Many of these men stayed in St. Augustine to raise families and form business ventures with other peninsulare men.

After the destruction of the town by James Moore (and again after the destruction of most of the town by a hurricane in 1707), many of the properties owned by criollo families were gradually rebuilt of masonry—coquina, a shellstone quarried on Anastasia Island, or tabby—a cement-like mixture made with shells. St. Augustine had entered the “stone age.”

Life in these houses—whether rich or poor—featured a mixture of Indian, African and European and non-European traits in areas of female domestic activity (an adaptation to Florida by the resident criollas, mestizas and mulattas) but a strong adherence to European items in male activities, and matters of public display. St. Augustine was Spanish on the outside, but multicultural on the inside.




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