To continue celebrating National Parks Week, I've chosen Fort Matanzas-- a fan favorite in my family. For us, the fort is not only hidden away in an area surrounded by a lovely nature walk, picnic tables, oaks trees begging to be climbed. In addition to all these fabulous things, visiting Fort Matanzas requires a short boat ride across the Matanzas Inlet with an all access pass to explore the "baby" fort's history.
|View of Fort Matanzas on the boat ride across the inlet.|
Two hundred years before the fort was constructed, the inlet witnessed a mass slaughter of Frenchmen. In August of 1565, French and Spanish forces reached Florida's northeastern coast. The French presence posed a threat to Spanish settlement. Enraged by the French action, and their Protestant beliefs, the Spanish Crown enlisted Pedro Menéndez de Aviles to remove the French from Florida. An untimely hurricane wrecked French ships, and the reinforcements, south of Daytona Beach. Menéndez proceeded to attack Fort Caroline at the same time. Weakened by the missing troops, Menéndez defeated the resistance and took the lives of most troops at Fort Caroline. Within the next few weeks, the Frenchmen who were shipwrecked during the storm began to appear as they sought Fort Caroline. Menéndez intercepted two different groups at the inlet. Here, Menéndez demanded the French renounce their Protestant faith and adopt Catholicism or accept death. True to their faith, most men denied Catholicism, electing death instead. These bloody encounters are the source for the name Matanzas, which means slaughter, Inlet.
|Why my family nicknamed Fort Matanzas the "baby" fort.|
|Yours truly, wedging herself through the hole to the upper deck of the fort-- a worthwhile experience.|
|The owlets currently at the park.|