Florida Museum of Natural History

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 the 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.

Click here to browse the artifacts and characters
of this unique period of time!