Thursday, November 3, 2011

This month marks the 309th anniversary of the Siege of 1702.  What better time to take a closer look at a critical moment in St. Augustine's history?  Over the next several days we'll trace the timeline of that attack on St. Augustine using beautiful illustrations by a local artist & historian.  Elsbeth Gordon created a lovely rendering of the events that took place in fall and winter of 1702 and gave it to City Archaeologist Carl Halbirt.

Before we dive in to the timeline, it's worth exploring the events that led up to the Siege.  Though there was certainly no love lost between the British and Spanish colonies, this conflict originated in Europe.  The War of Spanish Succession started in 1701, pitting the Spanish and French against England and a number of smaller allies.  The tension of war quickly spread to the colonies, where the English became concerned about the potential for Spanish attack.  With that in mind, Governor James Moore set out to attack La Florida in October of 1702.

The Castillo provides the central image of Gordon's illustration, and rightly so.  It was the haven into which St. Augustine's citizens gathered during the attack.  Without its protection, the Siege would undoubtedly have yielded a much worse result for the Spanish.

Follow along in the coming weeks as we retrace the major events of this historic attack.  For more details about the Siege of 1702, take a look at this pamphlet offered by the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument.

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