Skip to main content

tv   Fountain of Youth and Spanish Settlement of St. Augustine  CSPAN  July 1, 2015 10:20pm-10:31pm EDT

10:20 pm
of them didn't exist during the time of the spanish, and the british, and the spanish coming back. it's not a typical thing for u.s. cities. so when we talk about spanish, british, spanish, people's eyes kind of cross. it's like what are you talking about? anytime you have a transition really a wholesale transition the first time, everybody left and the british came in to replace them, it's really not good for the growth of the town. it's obviously disruptive. the new group wants to do things their way. so there's always this heavy transitional period. because there were so few spanish here when the british arrived, there wasn't much, you know, interpersonal problems. but when the spanish arrived or when the spanish came back in 1784, there were quite a number of british that did stay. and so there was a lot of argument back ifand forth. when the u.s. took over in 1821 a lot of the spanish departed
10:21 pm
because, once again, they were still part of the spanish military, so they were obviously sent to another post. but -- and the americans were really eager to move in to florida. and the existing spanish population that stayed you know, certainly felt supplanted. they had hoped, you know, that they would be in the position to be in important political positions, et cetera, but that wasn't the way territorial -- u.s. territorial government posts were handed out. they were usually handed out as political paybacks. and so the arriving americans quickly took over all the high-level posts that the spanish had hoped for. and they found themselves, you know, kind of saying well, we wish it was the good old days. >> today and since 1918, the oldest house has been and is operated by the st. augustine historical society. when visitors come to the house
10:22 pm
i hope they absorb two or three different things. i like them to see that people lived successfully and happy lives in an earlier period that was different without electronics. i like them to see that this was one of the earliest places in the united states. it is the oldest city in the u.s. and that we have a real mixture of backgrounds in the u.s. it's not just about the original 13 colonies. and so i like them to see that there are other ways that people lived, other ways to look at life, that are just as valid as the ones that we tend to think are the only way to do things. welcome to ponce deleon fountain of youth archaeological park. where florida's oldest park with guest book records stretching back to 1867, they
10:23 pm
commemorate the landing of ponce deleon somewhere near here anda also the location of the 1565 first settlement of st. augustine, 42 years before the settlement of jamestown was founded and 55 years before the pilgrims landed on plymouth rock. ponce deleon was an explorer. he came over in christopher columbus's second voyage to the new world in 1493. he rose through the ranks of the spanish military on the island of espanola and then later puerto rico. he was appointed governor of puerto rico much to the chagrin of christopher columbus's son diego who protested. the king of spain really likes juan ponce deleon and said i would like you to be in charge of a voyage of exploration and discovery, looking for lands that we've heard about to the
10:24 pm
northwest. so in march of 1513, ponce deleon sailed a fleet of three ships from puerto rico, outside to the east of the bahamas, up the gulf stream, making landfall very near here on april 2nd 1513. he anchored offshore for the night and came ashore the next day. we say that he landed right around 30 degrees, eight minutes north latitude, which corresponds to a point almost 11 miles north of here. details are sketchy at best. we do know that juan ponce deleon came ashore after searching for good harbor took on water and wood. this area presents one of the few fresh water springs in the area around 30 degrees eight minutes. so odds are, he landed here. ponce deleon may or may not have been searching for the fountain of eternal youth. a lot of people have said that
10:25 pm
he was out for additional property for the king of spain and colonization attempts and gold, which is very decidedly true. however, he thought enough about the legend to peel off one of his ships on the return voyage around the island of bemeny to search for the fountain of youth. while it may not have been his original mission, he did have an understanding and a gut feeling about the fountain of eternal youth. the true specialness of the spring was that it had been supporting the tamukwa for over 3,000 years. there was a large settlement here and would have been easily visible from the water. the water in the fountain of youth spring bubbles up from an aqua forwhich holds trillions of gallons of water and is very hard mineral wise. when you take a sip, you'll
10:26 pm
taste a bit of sulfur and the feel of calcium carbonate. this spring house is the first stop in the fountain of youth park. one of the more delightful aspects of the park is its duality. the front of the park commemorates deleon's search for the fountain of the youth. the eastern portion of the park is textbook history. as we like to say, come for the legend and stay for the history. we're an awful lot more than a sip of water. we're standing next to the pedro menendez 1665 first settlement field. on september 8, 1565 pedro menendez deaviles and 800 people landed here, establishing the first colony of st. augustine. what this means is that the first settlement of the nation's oldest city of st. augustine, 450 years ago this september
10:27 pm
was built here. this map is a record of archaeological excaffations through about 2006. when you look at the map, you'll see color-coded structures. the white lines represent archaeological dig trenches. the green circles represent timukwa structures that were given to the spanish. the rectangular structures are spanish colonial buildings. this large structure was the casa dell munis jhonas, or casa fuerta, this is where the spanish stored the gun powder and weaponry for the fledgling settlement. the blue line is a defensive wall that was built on the very first day. menendez had to do business with the french, about 40 miles to the north. dropped off 200 men with no tools or implements and they
10:28 pm
built an earth-work barrier with their bare hands. the present day shoreline of the menendez settlement is very similar to what it was 450 years ago, up to about there. as you recall, the fountain of youth spring was flowing freely as a fresh water spring at that point, and the spring would have been about here. that outflow of fresh water meandered in a run down through here. so this piece of land which was a perfect defensive position for menendez' military settlement. in 1565 an unfortunate situation cropped up for the spanish and the french. a french colony had been established 40 miles north of here by french huginos, seeking
10:29 pm
religious and political freedom from the constraints of catholic europe. the spanish royalty could not abide this at all. for two reasons the french were profit assistant, and the spanish were catholic. at that point in history those two things did not mix at all. the second reason was that spain was busily taking all the treasure that it could out of the spanish main. twice a year, a spanish treasure fleet would head north from the caribbean back to spain. they would use the gulf stream, which at this point is 50 miles offshore. all that treasure passing by an enemy fortification was an untenable position. the king of spain ordered pedro menendez deaviles to take care of the colony using whatever means necessary. menendez headed north with his fleet and there was a short battle between ships that can
10:30 pm
best be described as a draw. menendez then headed south and brought all his equipment and men ashore. menendez chose to meak a forced march using 500 of his best men, the 40 miles up the coast to ft. caroline. while shehe was engaged in doing this, a hurricane struck. the french fleet was enroute to the fledgling settlement of st. augustine, was caught in this hurricane, and swept south, all the way to the area of present day cape kennedy. the four ships were wrecked, but there were many survivors. this rag tag group slowly made their way north. it took the better part of a month, but they were stopped cold at the mattansas enlet, 15 miles south of here. menendez'


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on