St. Augustine in Saint Johns County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
First Permanent European/African/Native American Settlement on U.S. 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
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
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); Historic Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche (about 700 feet away); Our Lady of La Leche (about 700 feet away); a different marker also named Mission Nombre de Dios (approx. ¼ mile 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). 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 Americans • Colonial Era • Settlements & 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 296 times since then and 9 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.