Near St. Augustine in Saint Johns County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
Fort Mose (Moh-Say) was a multicultural community of people originally from West and Central Africa, along with some Native Americans.
Some of the residents of Mose, like Francisco Menéndez, fought in the 1715 Yamasee War against the English of Carolina. They later fled south to St. Augustine with their Indian allies, and some brought Yamasee wives. In St. Augustine the people of Mose also interacted with, and sometimes intermarried with members of the Timucua, Ybaja, Chiluque, Costas, Chaschis, and Chickasaw cultural groups.
In 1759, militiamen at Fort Mose identified themselves as four distinct African ethnic groups: Mandinga, Carabali, Congo, and Mina. Most spoke several languages, including English, Spanish, and Arabic. They also spoke Native American, as well as African languages. Some had lived in African cities, and many were skilled artisans, linguists, and farmers.
Mose residents had varied cultural and religious backgrounds. Some were Muslims, some were already Catholics, and some practiced local African religions. Mose’s leader, Francisco Menéndez, was a literate Mandinga. Many of the Mandigas were Muslims and they were noted for resisting enslavement in Africa and in the Americas.
Above: Modern African horseman
Right: Mandinga woman, Senegal,
Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Virginia Library
Left: Modern map showing location of various African cultural groups that lived at Fort Mose (Mandinga, Mina, Carabali and Congo)
Above: The Great Mosque of Djenne, located in south central Mali, was a vivid expression of new found faith by Koy Konboro, Djenne’s first Islamicized ruler.
Courtesy of Jonathan (illegible)
Left: The King of Congo greets the Capuchin monks.
Above: Several sizes and shapes of glass trade beads were found at the Fort Mose excavation. Larger, faceted beads were possibly rosary beads.
Above: The kingdom of Benin, in west Africa, was famous for its advanced architecture. Sixteenth-century Dutch explorers considered Benin’s four-story palace as modern as the ones in Europe.
Courtesy of the Library of Congress
Location. 29° 55.71′ N, 81° 19.521′ W. Marker is near St. Augustine, Florida, in Saint Johns County. Marker can be reached from U.S. 1 one mile north of State Road 16. Touch for map. Marker is in front of the Fort Mose State Historic Park visitor center, within the park grounds, about 1.5 miles north of St. Augustine, Florida. Marker is at or near this postal address: 15 Fort Mose Trail, Saint Augustine FL 32084, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At El Pueblo de Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose (within shouting distance of this marker); 10 Hildreth Drive (approx. ¾ mile away); Fullerwood Park Historic District (approx. one mile away); Former St. Johns County Jail (approx. one mile away); Nelmar Terrace Historic District (approx. 1.3 miles away); The Francis and Mary Usina Bridge (approx. 1.4 miles away); Chain Gangs (approx. 1.4 miles away); Gault Street (approx. 1½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in St. Augustine.
Also see . . . Francisco Menendez.
Born in Africa, Francisco Menéndez was brought to America as a slave in the early 1700s. He escaped and fled from the British territories in 1724 to St. Augustine, Florida, which was then controlled by the Spanish. After converting to Catholicism and agreeing to join the St. Augustine militia, he was granted his freedom. He rose to the rank of captain, and in 1738 he was put in charge of the first free black settlement in America, Fort Mose. (Submitted on December 11, 2014, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
Categories. • African Americans • Colonial Era • Forts, Castles • Native Americans •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 10, 2018. This page originally submitted on December 11, 2014, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 321 times since then and 28 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on December 11, 2014, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.