The Spanish crown was ambitious in its exploration of the New World, establishing the first permanent European settlement at St. Augustine in 1565, and equally as keen on protecting its investment from marauding pirates, subversive Native American neighbors, and the French and British Empires by establishing a trio of forts along New Florida’s northern Atlantic coastline.
Aside Fort Mose to the north and Fort Matanzas to the south, Castillo de San Marcos was the first and largest of the three, standing 33 feet high, with 14 feet thick walls of coquina blocks–
–a bonded composite of crushed seashells quarried from nearby Anastasia Island–and able to withstand a cannon shot from an enemy vessel.
Completed 323 years ago, Castillo de San Marcos still stands as the oldest masonry and best preserved fortress in the continental United States, and a symbol of the colonial struggles that shaped the history of a nation.
View original post 268 more words