“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
St. Augustine in Saint Johns County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)

The Minorcan Heritage

The Minorcan Heritage Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 1, 2011
1. The Minorcan Heritage Marker
Inscription. The Minorcans, some 1,300 people of Mediterranean origins, were brought to Florida in 1768 as contract employees to farm a large indigo plantation at New Smyrna, 70 miles south of St. Augustine. Though most came from the island of Minorca off the eastern coast of Spain, their number included others from Greece, Sicily and Italy.

Death and hardship became their lot and after nine years they abandoned the New Smyrna community. Granted sanctuary by British authorities in St. Augustine, those able walked the long, weary miles northward in the hot summer of 1777.

Here they settled on land south of the Castillo de San Marcos. Some engaged themselves as tradesmen, others took up farming and many fished in the bountiful ocean waters. This area became home to generations of Minoricans to follow.

When Spain regained Florida in 1784, the Minorcans cast their fortunes with the new regime and stayed in St. Augustine when Florida joined the United States in 1821. Gradually they lost their native languages, but even today the special foods and traditional religious celebrations the Minorcans brought with them remain a colorful part of the city's heritage.

"They came here, they toiled here, they suffered many pains, they lived here, they died here, the left singing names."
Steven Vincent Benet (Minorcan descendant)
Erected by
The Minorcan Heritage Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, August 1, 2011
2. The Minorcan Heritage Marker
City of St. Augustine.
Location. 29° 53.786′ N, 81° 18.799′ W. Marker is in St. Augustine, Florida, in Saint Johns County. Marker is on St. George Street, on the right when traveling south. Click for map. St. George Street is closed to vehicle traffic. Marker is in this post office area: Saint Augustine FL 32084, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Casa Avero (a few steps from this marker); The Salcedo House (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Triay-Hall House (about 400 feet away); The Rosario Defense Line (about 500 feet away); Tolomato Cemetery (about 500 feet away); Tolomato Indian Village (about 600 feet away); Castillo de San Marcos National Monument (about 600 feet away); St. Peter's Bastion (about 600 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in St. Augustine.
Also see . . .
1. Minorcans in St. Augustine. (Submitted on September 3, 2011, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
2. Florida Memory Blog: Dr. Andrew Turnbull and the Origins of New Smyrna Beach. This article offers more detail of the Minorcan settlers' story, as well as photos showing food, crafts, and other elements of Minorcan traditions which have been passed down through generations of their descendants and remain alive in Florida today. (Submitted on May 16, 2014, by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida.) 
Categories. Colonial EraSettlements & Settlers
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 386 times since then and 30 times this year. Last updated on . Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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