Authentic Florida Expert, Lucy Beebe Tobias, tours Castillo de San Marcos, built to protect and defend Spain’s claims in the New World.
Hello! I'm Lucy Beebe Tobias, your authentic Florida expert, and we're here at the Castillo de San Marcos International Monument in Saint Augustine. This is the oldest fort intact in the United States. We're inside the fort now, deep into the fort. And I'm with Jeff Jones, one of the park rangers. If you go back from the time it was completed, it's 313 years old. It's completed in 1695. Took about a 23-year process from 1672 at 1695 to complete the 1st phase of construction. And only 7 years after the fort was finished, it did receive its 1st major attack. I wanna show you some cannon marks that are over 300 years old. In the 16th century, gunpowder was invented. So, that was really huge at how it affected warfare. And what you have right offshore is the Gulf Stream. So you have all these ships coming from Europe and they come by here and they see this huge fort and they'd say, "Whoa! We can't have that?" And they'd start firing. They would be the English, French, sometimes the Germans. Anybody with a ship who came by here took a potshot at the Castillo right here. And this is coquina. Coquina is ground-up shells and limestone and it's natural. This is not manmade. This is cored and what happened is when the shells hit the fort like this, the coquina was like a sponge. It just soaked it up. And every bit of fire power they threw at the fort never even really made a dent. It was just, that's what you see. Those are cannonballs from over 300 years ago and that's all that's left. And the walls always stood and they never took the fort. I'm here with interpreter Warren Feldman. He's a volunteer and he's gonna tell us what it's all about with his costume. The fort as you see it represents a period of time around 1740. Our uniform is that of the Spanish Marines Regulation 1738. It is approximately 8 layers of wool and linen and the question we get asked is, "Are you hot?" And the answer is, "Not really." Wool is porous. They're used as material because this type of weapons produce sparks. The wool is flame resistant. It's also being porous, the wind blows through it. So you sweat, you get a little damp. And if there's a breeze, you stay cool. So the uniforms are pretty comfortable. So we're gonna go up the steep steps to go up to the top. I hear the view is pretty fantastic. Whoa! Check this out! No wonder everybody wanted to own this place. This is Matanzas Bay. And it is a beautiful, sheltered bay sheltered by those islands out there and just beyond that opening is the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Stream. It doesn't get any better than this. No wonder the Spanish built a fort here. They weren't about to go anyway. You know, when you're in Saint Augustine, a lot of people are truly surprised that this fort is here. And I suggest starting right here at the fort, spending a couple of hours and learning about all the history. But when you're done here, this is a walking town. And a very few blocks away, you can walk over to Flagler College. Flagler College used to be the Hotel Ponce de Leon and it was the most elegant hotel in its day. People came here and their jaws just dropped. It was so special. Imagine going to college there now. The students are amazed everyday at the beauty, and St. George Street. Don't forget St. George Street. It's only open to pedestrians, and they have some wonderful shops. And you need to stroll and take your time and be intrigued. This is a destination to come and spend a few days and learn about living history. I'm Lucy Beebe Tobias, your authentic Florida expert for visitflorida.com. Let's get real and go find authentic Florida. Hasta Luego!
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