Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Ancient Walls and Gates of St. Augustine, Florida

The finest place in the United States to explore our country's Spanish colonial history is the beautiful old city of St. Augustine, Florida.

Founded in 1565, St. Augustine is the oldest continually occupied city in the United States. It abounds with beautiful original and restored colonial structures.

I've always found the fact that St. Augustine was a walled city to be fascinating. Visitors often pass the beautiful old stone city gate without recognizing its significance.

The decision to build walls around the city was prompted by an English attack in 1702. Governor James Moore of South Carolina torched and sacked St. Augustine, although he was unable to conquer the massive old fortress of Castillo de San Marcos. Two years later, construction began on the Cubo Line, an earth and timber wall that stretched across the northern end of the city from Matanzas Bay to the San Sebastian River.

Updated over the years, the wall successfully protected St. Augustine from ever being captured again.

The current Old City Gate was constructed in 1808 at the time of the final reconstruction of the Cubo line.

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