de San Marcos National Monument
de San Marcos was for many years the northenmost outpst of Spain's vast
New World Empire. It is the oldest masonry fort and the best preserved
of a Spanish colonial fortification in the continental United States.
It anchored East Florida's defenses, which extended northward to the
St. Marys River, westward to the St. Johns, and southward to Foret Matanzas.
It protected St. Augustine from pirate raids and from Spain's major
rival, Great Britain, during a time when the Florida-Georgia-Carolina
coastline was an explosive international background.
roots of the Castillo's history reach back to the years just after Christopher
Columbus' discovery of the New World, when conquistadores carved
out a vast and wealthy overseas empire for Spain, first in the larger
islands of the Carribean and then on the mainlands of Mexico, Central
America, Colombia, Venezuela, and Peru. Products of these tropical and
mountainous territories brought high prices on the Continent, and Spanish
galleons sailed home laden with exotic dyes, sugar, tobacco, chocolate,
pearls, hardwood, silver and gold. These so-called "treasure fleets"
made Spain the most powerful and envied nation in Renaissance Europe.
its history, the Castillo de San Marcos has been closely intertwined
with the city of St. Augustine and the neighboring structures which
served as the city's defense for many years - Fort Mose to the north
and Fort Matanzas to the south. The Castillo and St. Augustine serve
as outstanding reminders of the might of the early Spanish empire in
the New World.