Old St. Augustine: A Military Outpost

Old St. Augustine: A Military Outpost


  • Old St. Augustine: A Military Outpost

Published Date

  • published 1940



From its beginning in 1565 until the present day, St. Augustine has
been a military outpost of many nations. Founded by Don Pedro Menendez
as a base of operations for colonization, and defense against other nations
striving to gain a foothold in Florida, it long remained an important defense
of the far flung Spanish Empire. The town continued to have military
significance during the British occupation when troops were trained for the
offensive against Savannah and Charleston. During the Second Spanish
occupation, St. Augustine continued to be an armed camp, and during the
succeeding Seminole Wars, Civil War, and Spanish-American War military
garrisons were stationed at Fort Marion. Today, in a rebuilt Franciscan
monastery, St. Augustine shelters the arsenal of the Florida National Guard.

St. Augustine reflects this military heritage not only in written and
legendary history, but also in its architecture. The first city planners were
military engineers, and the town was constructed according to a military plan
of defense. Enclosed for generations behind palisades, moats, and redoubts,
all available space was utilized. Square, compact little houses shoulder each
other between narrow streets, while lanes, large enough to permit the
movement of cannon only, intersect the city.