January 3, 2016

2182 UNITED STATES (Florida) - Castillo de San Marcos in Saint Augustine

Founded in 1565 by Spanish, Saint Augustine served as the capital of Spanish Florida for over 200 years, and remained the capital of East Florida when the territory briefly changed hands between Spain and Britain. It was designated the capital of the Florida Territory until Tallahassee was made the capital in 1824. Now it is the oldest continuously occupied European-established settlement within the borders of the contiguous United States.

Over the next 100 years after the foundation, the Spanish built nine wooden forts for the defense of the town, but they have proved insufficient. Following the destructive raid of the English privateer Robert Searles in 1668, it was decided the construction of a masonry star fort on the western shore of Matanzas Bay. Designed by the engineer Ignacio Daza, the construction began in 1672, being completed in 1695. Today is the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States.

The fort has four bastions named San Pedro, San Agustín, San Carlos and San Pablo with a ravelin protecting the sally port. On the two landward sides a large glacis was constructed which would force any attackers to advance upward toward the fort's cannon. Immediately surrounding the fort was a moat which could be flooded during high-tide with seawater. Multiple embrasures were built into the curtain wall as well as into the bastions for the deployment of cannon of various calibers, and also for infantry.

The fort served primarily as an outpost for the Spanish Empire, guarding Saint Augustine and protecting the sea route for treasure ships returning to Spain. Although the Castillo has served a number of nations throughout its history, it has never been taken by military force. During the 18th century it went from Spanish control to British and back to the Spanish, all by treaty. In 1821 Spain ceded Florida to the United States, and the name of the fort was changed in Fort Marion. 

In January 1861, Florida seceded from the United States, and the fort was taken by the Confederacy without a shot. In March 1862 it was reoccupied by Union troops also without a fight. Beginning in 1875, numerous Native American prisoners were held at the fort in the aftermath of the Indian Wars in the west, and many would die there. In 1900, the fort was taken off the active duty rolls after 205 years of service under five different flags.

About the stamps
The stamp is a Global Forever First-Class Mail International one, about which I wrote here.

Castillo de San Marcos -Wikipedia

Sender: Denise
Sent from Greenvale (New York / United States), on 10.02.2014

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