St. Augustine Old Town - History

Fifty-five years ago the Beatles didn't exist and space flight remained a crazy idea. It's a lifetime ago. Yet that's how much earlier St. Augustine was founded before the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts. Wait - what?!

St. Augustine?

Somewhere in the back of your mind, you have a 3rd Grade recollection of a guy named Ponce and his Fountain of Youth. That's where our textbooks ended, how about yours? It's time to fill in the gaps. Plenty has happened in St. Augustine in the nearly 450 years since then - stories you won't believe.

  • 1513: Juan Ponce de León arrives in the region, claiming it for Spain.
  • 1562: The French arrive! Things get multi-culti...
  • 1565: St. Augustine is properly founded and gets its name from Augustine of Hippo.
  • 1586: The English get involved, and Sir Francis Drake sets the city on fire.
  • 1672: Spanish rulers are by now sick of attack - they start building the Castillo de San Marcos
  • 1738: Fort Mose is established as the first community of legally freed former slaves.
  • 1763: Post-war wheeling and dealing means the British get St. Augustine... for now.
  • 1783: A another post-war treaty (another war) returns the city to Spanish control.
  • 1821: For the first time, the city becomes American-controlled. Are you keeping count? That's Spanish, French, British... Spanish... and American.
  • 1880s: Henry Flagler arrives in the region with money to burn. Soon, he's building hotels, hospitals and infrastructure. This back-water region becomes an up-market tourist destination.
  • 1908: The St. Augustine Alligator Farm opens, sure proof of the tourism boom.
  • 1925: The Bridge of Lions is built - connecting the mainland to Anastasia Island.
  • 1963: St. Augustine is very much part of the Civil Rights Movement, with ongoing protests.
  • 2013-2014: 500 year anniversary. Many events are planned - will you be lucky enough to enjoy them? See for details and start planning!