The Spanish in South Florida

The Spanish in South Florida


  • The Spanish in South Florida

Published Date

  • published 1940


[page 7]
The material wealth of the colonies was enormous. The average
annual production of the mines at this time had reached 11,000,000 pesos
and factories were producing many articles, including cloth, glass, and
sugar. (12) By 1560, sixty to seventy ships a year were carrying mine and
plantation products to Spain. The depredations of French and other
pirates became so great, however, that in 1561 the Spaniards adopted the
conveyed fleet system which lasted for nearly two centuries. (12)

When Philip II learned that the French had settled on Florida soil
and built fortifications which might serve as a base for ships already
engaged in looking for treasure caravels, he made all haste to destroy
them. Menendez, remembering the Frenchman, Jacques de Soria, who
had sacked Havana ten years earlier, went about his task in grim
earnestness. (12) Having ruthlessly wiped out the French invaders,
Menendez sailed southward to survey the Florida coast. (2) He had
hopes of great economic development in Florida. He dreamed of
silkworms, vineyards, mines, sugar plantations, wheat and rice fields,
herds of cattle, timber, and naval stores. (11)

"Florida," said Menendez, "is but a suburb of Spain, for it does
not take more than 40 days' sailing to come here, and usually as many
more to return." (11) Within two years he had established a string of
outposts from Tampa Bay to Port Royal in South Carolina. (11)