|St. Augustine’s Old City Gates|
The oldest European-settled city in the United States celebrates its 450th birthday today. No, it is not Jamestown or Plymouth. The honor belongs to St. Augustine, Florida.
Matt Blitz at SMITHSONIAN.COM tells us all about it. Here is a taste:
On September 8, 1565, Spanish explorer Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles landed ashore at an inlet (later called Matanzas Inlet) on the eastern coast of today’s Florida. Planting the Spanish flag, he declared the harbor and surrounding land in the name of the Spanish Empire and began setting up a permanent settlement. He named it after St. Augustine, the patron saint of brewers. While other Spanish explorers came to the New World looking for “God, gold and glory,” this was not exactly the case for Menendez, historian Dr. J. Michael Francis told Smithsonian.com. “He hoped to link the Atlantic Seaboard with the Gulf of Mexico, the Pacific Ocean and New Spain, what later would become Mexico … He was really trying to establish a commercial empire in Florida,” explains Francis.