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

Saint Augustine

First Permanent European/African/Native American Settlement on U.S. Mainland.

 
 
St Augustine Marker- First Permanent Settlement image. Click for full size.
By James R. Murray, February 8, 2015
1. St Augustine Marker- First Permanent Settlement
Inscription. Beginning in the early 1500s and continuing for more than three centuries, about 12 million African were transported across the Atlantic Ocean into slavery, in what has come to be known as the Middle Passage—the largest forced migration in history. About 2 million died during the voyage and approximately 500,000 were delivered directly to the North American mainland.

The ancient settlements already existing in Florida were approached and traversed in the 1500s by the Spanish conquistadors, British slave traders, and French Huguenots. Africans arrived with them. Part of the Fort Caroline settlement, north of St. Augustine, consisted of free Africans. Pedro Menendez de Aviles, the Spaniard who landed near this spot in 1565, was accompanied by both free and enslaved Catholic Africans.

As European settlements on these shores grew, the small military outpost at St. Augustine was soon joined by British colonies to the north based on plantations with slave labor. As early as 1687, enslaved people escaping from the British made their way to the Spanish colony where they earned their freedom. By 1738 their numbers were sufficient to establish Fort Mose, the first legally sanctioned community of formerly enslaved people, as the northern defense of St. Augustine. Black freedom existed side-by-side with slavery throughout
Documented Ships Importing Africans to St. Augustine image. Click for full size.
By James R. Murray, February 8, 2015
2. Documented Ships Importing Africans to St. Augustine
Year Ship
1767 St. Augustine Packet - 70 Africans delivered
1768 Black Prince (British) - 117 arrived, 69 Died during the voyage
1769 Unknown
1770 Liberty (U.S.) - 126 Africans delivered
1770 Charlotte Cape - 80 to 100 delivered
1771 Charlotte (British) - 115 Africans delivered
1775 Peggy (British) - 197 Africans delivered
1793 Diana (U.S.) - 126 Africans delivered
the colonial and early American years. There were times in the various colonial periods when St. Augustine had a black majority.

Records show that several ships made their way to St. Augustine with captive Africans. Slavery continued in St. Augustine until the Civil War. This was one of the first areas of the Confederacy to return to Union control, and in the fall of 1862 the Emancipation Proclamation was publicly read at Liberation Lot, south of downtown, by a Union officer appropriately named, Liberty K. Billings. “Little Africa” (Lincolnville) was settled by freed Blacks in 1866.

This is one of a number of markers placed at Middle Passage ports to honor those who survived the grueling journey, to remember those who did not, and to celebrate the many contributions of their descendants in creating this nation.
 
Erected 2015 by Middle Passages Ceremonies and Port Markers Project.
 
Location. 29° 54.218′ N, 81° 18.818′ W. Marker is in St. Augustine, Florida, in Saint Johns County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of San Marco Avenue (Business U.S. 1) and Old Mission Avenue (Business U.S. 1), on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is within the boundaries of the Mission Nombre de Dios, to
St Augustine Marker- First Permanent Settlement image. Click for full size.
By James R. Murray, February 8, 2015
3. St Augustine Marker- First Permanent Settlement
View of the marker along the walkway, out towards the Big Cross
the right towards the Big Cross along the walkway, at the base of a big tree. 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. The Great Cross (within shouting distance of this marker); Mission Nombre de Dios (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Mission Nombre de Dios (approx. 0.2 miles away); Robert L. Ripley (approx. 0.3 miles away); Warden Winter Home (approx. 0.3 miles away); First Spanish Muster Site in Florida (approx. 0.3 miles away); Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park (approx. 0.3 miles away); 33 Bernard Street (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in St. Augustine.
 
Also see . . .
1. Middle Passage Ceremonies and Port Markers Project. (Submitted on February 9, 2015.)
2. Middle Passage Remembrance Ceremony. augustine.com (Submitted on February 9, 2015.) 
 
Categories. African AmericansColonial EraSettlements & Settlers
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on February 8, 2015, by James R. Murray of Elkton, Florida. This page has been viewed 243 times since then and 26 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on February 8, 2015, by James R. Murray of Elkton, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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