"Cannon Firing" by NPS Photo , public domain

Castillo de San Marcos

National Monument - Florida

The Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States and is Located on the western shore of Matanzas Bay in the city of St. Augustine, Florida. Construction began in 1672, 107 years after the city's founding by Spanish Admiral and conquistador Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, when Florida was part of the Spanish Empire. The fort's construction was ordered by Governor Francisco de la Guerra y de la Vega after the destructive raid by the English privateer Robert Searles in 1668. The construction of the core of the current fortress was completed in 1695. Under United States control the fort was used as a military prison to incarcerate members of Native American tribes starting with the Seminole—including the famous war chief, Osceola, in the Second Seminole War—and members of western tribes, including Geronimo's band of Chiricahua Apache.


Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units and Regions

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Heritage Areas

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Castillo de San Marcos NM https://www.nps.gov/casa/index.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castillo_de_San_Marcos The Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States and is Located on the western shore of Matanzas Bay in the city of St. Augustine, Florida. Construction began in 1672, 107 years after the city's founding by Spanish Admiral and conquistador Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, when Florida was part of the Spanish Empire. The fort's construction was ordered by Governor Francisco de la Guerra y de la Vega after the destructive raid by the English privateer Robert Searles in 1668. The construction of the core of the current fortress was completed in 1695. Under United States control the fort was used as a military prison to incarcerate members of Native American tribes starting with the Seminole—including the famous war chief, Osceola, in the Second Seminole War—and members of western tribes, including Geronimo's band of Chiricahua Apache. Built by the Spanish in St. Augustine to defend Florida and the Atlantic trade route, Castillo de San Marcos National Monument preserves the oldest masonry fortification in the continental United States and interprets more than 450 years of cultural intersections. On State Route A1A overlooking Matanzas Bay in the heart of the historic district of Saint Augustine, the Castillo is approximately a five mile drive from Interstate 95. Castillo Drawbridge Drawbridge entrance to the Castillo de San Marcos Crossing a dry moat, this drawbridge was the only way into the Castillo. Castillo de San Marcos Hot Shot Furnace Furnace for heating cannon balls This furnace, in the water battery on the east side of the Castillo, heated cannonballs red hot to be fired at wooden vessels. Castillo de San Marcos Cannon Four black iron cannon mounted on carriages line the walls of the Castillo. The Castillo features both iron and bronze cannon and mortar from the period. Castillo de San Marcos Cannon Firing Re-enactors of the first Spanish period cover their ears while firing a cannon. Cannon firing demonstrations are scheduled five times a day every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Castillo de San Marcos Aerial View Aerial view of the Castillo and the city of St. Augustine the Castillo commands the northern edge of the heart of downtown St. Augsutine. Archaeology Activity "One man's trash is another man's treasure." What?! Complete an archaeology activity to discover how "trash" can teach us a lot about people from the past. Shell Midden Mound, a hill with shells and grass. NPS Geodiversity Atlas—Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, Florida Each park-specific page in the NPS Geodiversity Atlas provides basic information on the significant geologic features and processes occurring in the park. [Site Under Development] fortress walls Build Your Own Cannon Experience a cannon firing, examine 3D models of artillery, and build your own paper cannon. Cannon with two Spanish soldiers and flag on gun deck of Castillo. Castillo Virtual Ranger Become a Virtual Ranger at Castillo de San Marcos National Monument! Image of Virtual Ranger arrowhead, images of a computer screen, and fort outline. Colonial Games Learn about colonial games and make your own toy. Two children are playing checkers in the grass. Build Your Own Fort Do you have what it takes to defend your town? Construct your own fort out of materials you have at home! Image of sand castle on beach. Civil Rights in Colonial St. Augustine In 1606, one year before the founding of Jamestown, Virginia, the first documented slave birth was recorded in St. Augustine, FL. Cannon Experiment Did you know cannons harnessed the power of a chemical reaction to function? Discover more by conducting an experiment using the scientific method to produce a chemical reaction with an Alka-Seltzer cannon. Apply what you learn about chemical reactions to the loading and firing of cannon to understand the reality faced by the gun crews at the Castillo and Fort Matanzas. Cannon Diagram Climate Change Have you ever felt stronger as part of a group? The history of the Castillo de San Marcos shows us that there's strength in numbers -- a lesson to remember as we face the challenge posed by climate change. Illustration of the northeast bastion with water and palm trees in background. National Park Service Commemoration of the 19th Amendment In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment the National Park Service has developed a number of special programs. This includes online content, exhibits, and special events. The National Park Service’s Cultural Resources Geographic Information Systems (CRGIS) announces the release of a story map that highlights some of these programs and provides information for the public to locate and participate. Opening slide of the 19th Amendment NPS Commemoration Story Map Coloring Pages - Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas Looking for a home or classroom activity for the kids? Enjoy these coloring pages that were created by rangers and volunteers! Young boy with coloring page of a cartoon fort soldier Castillo de San Marcos Bark Ranger Do you like exploring downtown St. Augustine and the park grounds outside Castillo de San Marcos with your canine friend? Learn about the B.A.R.K. Ranger program! Image of a dog with a ranger outside Castillo de San Marcos Series: National Park Service Geodiversity Atlas The servicewide Geodiversity Atlas provides information on <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geoheritage-conservation.htm">geoheritage</a> and <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geodiversity.htm">geodiversity</a> resources and values all across the National Park System to support science-based management and education. The <a href="https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1088/index.htm">NPS Geologic Resources Division</a> and many parks work with National and International <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/park-geology.htm">geoconservation</a> communities to ensure that NPS abiotic resources are managed using the highest standards and best practices available. park scene mountains Sustainability Explore opportunities to protect resources in the park and at home. Photograph of a water refill station at Castillo. Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas National Monuments Cultural Landscapes Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas, both in present-day northeastern Florida, represent the best-preserved evidence of the Spanish Empire’s 287-year presence in southeastern North America. The oldest masonry fortification remaining in the continental United States, Castillo de San Marcos formed the core of a system of defenses. The fort landscapes reflect conventions of military engineering and the later changes and preservation efforts by the U.S. War Department. A furnace in an area of turf between the masonry wall of a fort and a seawall alongside water.
Castillo de San Marcos National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Castillo de San Marcos National Monument Florida San Agustin Bastion San Carlos Bastion San Pedro Bastion Plaza de Armas Use this exploded birds­eye view to help you find your way as you ex­plore over 300 years of Florida history. The layout that Span­­ish engineer Ignacio Daza created for the Cas­tillo de San Marcos is simple and straightforward. This fortress is a hollow square with diamond-shaped bastions at each corner, with only one way in or out. In the bombproof storerooms that surround the central Plaza de Armas you will find Hours of Operation The park is open every day except Dec. 25 from 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. The main parking lot closes at 5:30 p.m. San Pablo Bastion museums highlighting various chapters of the fort’s long history. A good place to start is the corner rooms next to the well. Rest­rooms are located under the arched stairway leading to the gundeck. After you finish exploring the rooms below, make your way up the stairs and gaze out upon the waters of Matanzas Bay. From this com­ manding position, a garrison of Spanish troops safeguarded St. Augustine during the turbulent colonial era. Later English and then American troops also saw service here. All stood watch faithfully over the land Juan Ponce de León named, “La Florida.” For a Safe Visit Although the Castillo is over 300 years old, most of the damage to it has resulted not from past battles or sieges but from thousands of people each year. The fort is constructed of a unique sedimentary rock called Coquina, which, despite its obvious strength, is very fragile and susceptible to wear. • Please do not climb on the walls or sit on the stone surfaces. Also do not climb or sit on the cannon. • Always watch your step. Be careful of irregular steps, low walls with no railings, and loose, uneven surfaces. • Supervise children closely. Entrance For more information Castillo de San Marcos National Monument 1 S. Castillo Dr. St. Augustine, FL 32084 904-829-6506 www.nps.gov/casa Ravelin Shot Furnace Guard Rooms Plaza de Armas Well Powder Magazine Storage Rooms Chapel British Room A Guide to the Castillo Shot Furnace The U.S. Army filled in the east side of the moat in 1842–44 and mounted sea coast artil­lery pieces along the seawall. The shot furnace heated cannonballs until red hot. This hot shot was then fired at an enemy’s wooden ships to set them afire. Powder Magazine, 1675–87 This was the only vaulted chamber completed when the Castillo was built (the rest were add­ed during a later modernization). Its thick coquina walls were buried in the earth fill of San Carlos Bastion to protect the fort’s gunpowder from fire or enemy shot. Lack of ventilation, however, made it too damp in the small room to store powder. When larger, better vaults were built, the powder was moved and this room was used for other things. Chapel Religion was important in Span­ish daily life. In this chapel a priest conducted mass for the soldiers. With the in­tro­duc­tion of Christianity to the Indians in this area, various missions were established north and west of St. Augustine. The Spanish set up Florida’s mission system over 100 years before they set up missions in the American West. British Room, 1763–84 British troops moved to St. Augustine after Spain ceded Florida to Great Britain in ex­change for Moat Covered Way the fortified harbor and city of La Habana, Cuba, in 1763. Wooden second floors, like the one reconstructed in this casemate, were built in the high Spanish vaults to provide more space for quarters and supplies. British rule lasted for 21 years. Florida was returned to Spain at the close of the American Revolution in 1783. Plaza de Armas and Storage Rooms Despite their prison-like appearance, the rooms around the Plaza de Armas, or central courtyard, were storage areas. Here the Spanish stockpiled gunpowder, ammunition, weapons, lumber, tools, and food like dried beans, rice, flour, and corn. Since St. Augustine was not self-sufficient, such stockpiles of food and ammunition were an important part of the town’s defense during a siege. Guard Rooms St. Augustine was a garrison town or presidio, and no one lived inside the Castillo. The soldiers lived in town with their families and came to the fort to stand a rotating guard du­ty (usually 24 hours). At such times, they slept and prepared their meals in these rooms. The large fireplaces offered warmth on chilly days and provided an area for cooking. The platforms attached to the walls served as beds for the soldiers. Ravelin This triangular outer work shielded the fort’s only entrance from enemy fire. It was never finished as planned. If completed, the outer wall would have been five feet higher, with embrasures for cannon and a powder magazine. The drawbridge here and the main drawbridge are both working reconstructions. The ravelin bridge would have been secured each night at sunset; the main brid
For your safety and for the protection of the Castillo and its historical artifacts, PLEASE do not climb, sit, or stand on the fragile shell stone walls or on the cannons or cannon carriages. National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Self-Guided Walking Tour Castillo de San Marcos National Monument St. Augustine, Florida Room Legend Eastern National Bookstore Get your Passport Stamp here! Orientation Junior Ranger Station Second Spanish Period Religion at the Castillo Construction and Design American Occupation Contest of Nations Artillery Complex First Spanish Period Preservation British Period The Soldiers’ Life THEATER COURTYARD First Aid is available in the Sally Port and at the ticket booth. Welcome! WELL TO THE GUNDECK CANNON FIRINGS Each room marked on the map with a circular icon contains an exhibit panel also marked with the same icon. These panels, as well as the other displays in each room, will help tell you the story of Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. The rooms shaded in grey are currently closed to the public. On the back of this page, you will find more information about the individual rooms and other parts of the fort. You have entered one of the most extraordinary places in the United States, incorporating over 335 years of history and culture. Construction of the Castillo de San Marcos began in 1672, making it one of the oldest standing structures in North America. The fort has undergone many renovations and changes over the years but appears today much as it would have looked at its final completion in 1756. SALLY PORT ENTRANCE The Castillo was initially built by the Spanish to protect their vast empire in the Americas. Engineer Ignacio Daza designed a fortress using a bastion system. The starlike outline of the Castillo is formed by diamond shaped projections, called bastions, on each corner of the fort. This design eliminates blind spots for the guards in the garitas, or sentry boxes, at each bastion point and increases the fort’s firepower boy allowing multiple cannons to fire on the same target, creating a crossfire effect. For an aerial view of the Castillo, please see the full-color park brochure. Self-Guided Walking Tour National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Castillo de San Marcos National Monument St. Augustine, Florida Your tour begins in the Sally Port, the entrance of the fortress. This was the only way in or out of the Castillo. Here you can see the large drawbridge and the portcullis, the heavy sliding door. Between these two wooden barriers, the strength of the Castillo is apparent. The thickness of the outer walls varies from 14 to 19 feet thick at the base and tapers to 9 feet towards the top. Note the blocks of coquina stone that make up these walls and how they were set together. There are over 400,000 blocks of stone in the Castillo, all of it cut and set by hand. There are several rooms that are accessible only through the Sally Port. To the right are the Spanish guard rooms and a locked room that served as the town jail. During Spanish occupation, soldiers did not live inside the Castillo. They walked to work from their homes in town. The soldiers detailed to be on overnight guard duty would have used these rooms to rest, cook food, and spend free time socializing and playing games. The room to the left, currently our bookstore, was once part of the officers’ quarters. These rooms hold several exhibits which introduce you to the fort’s history, design, and construction. The flags in the first room represent the different nations the Castillo has served: Hapsburg and Bourbon Spain, Great Britain, and the United States. Though the fort has changed hands between countries many times, every transfer was negotiated through treaty and agreement, not battle. One of the major contributing factors to the Castillo’s success is coquina, the stone from which the fortress is constructed. Because the stone is porous, it compresses under the impact of cannon fire rather than shattering, making the Castillo practically indestructible. In this room, you will notice some unusual features. The raised platform at the back is believed to be the original mortar mixing pit used during the Castillo’s construction. Looking up towards the window, there is a ledge that marks the original height of the Castillo’s walls: 22 feet at their initial completion in 1695. The Castillo was originally built to act not only as a refuge for the townspeople but also as a military warehouse. The Spanish used the western casemates for food storage, and they would have looked much like the locked supply room. Other casemates were filled with military supplies such as gunpowder, hardware, ship repair materials, and as many as 20,000 cannonballs. All of the stone casemates were constructed between 1738 and 1756, a time of almost constant warfare between Spain and England in the New World. The walls were raised to 35 feet during this remodeling, and t
page 2 National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Volunteers-In-Parks Program Castillo de San Marcos Fort Matanzas National Monuments The Change of Flags For 200 years the Spanish Empire ruled over a third of the world but growing wealth from the newly ‘discovered’ lands of Africa, Asia and the Americas spawned rivals to Spanish Power in Europe and overseas. A series of conflicts erupted throughout the colonial era. In 1763 the Seven Years War, the first great world war came to an end, known in North America as the French and Indian War, it involved all the major powers of Europe: Prussia, Great Britain (with British Colonies in North America), and Hanover were pitted against Austria, France (with New France), Russia, Sweden, and Saxony. Spain and Portugal were later also drawn into the conflict. The most tangible outcome of the war was the end of France’s power in the Americas and the emergence of Great Britain as the most powerful colonial power in the world. More importantly, France's Navy would never again be at near equal terms with the British Navy. During the conflict (1754-1763) Britain captured Havana in Spanish Cuba and Manila in the Philippines the two major trans-shipment points for the Spanish Treasure Fleets. Part of the Treaty of Paris ending the war returned these cities to Spanish control in exchange for the territory of Florida th th which became the British Crown colonies of East and West Florida (the 14 & 15 colonies in North America). For the Spanish floridanos it meant abandoning the only home they had ever known, one that many of their great grandfathers had created from the wilderness. For the English it meant a new colony to found and untold opportunities in land and trade and they flocked to St. Augustine changing the face of the city forever. On July 21, 1763 Spanish officials in St. Augustine transferred the territory to British forces under the command of Captain John Hedges of the British Army. The Change of Flags event today recreates the ceremonies that officially transferred Florida from Spanish to British control and celebrates this important moment in history. E X P E R I E N C E Y O U R A M E R I C A™ The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage.
The Siege of 1702 November 9 - 30 December, 1702 The War of Spanish Succession National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, St. Augustine, Florida The War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714) was a major European conflict that spilled over into the Americas. It arose at the end of the 17th century in anticipation of the death of the last Spanish Habsburg king, Charles II. Mentally and physically infirm from a very young age, it was clear that Charles, though twice married, could not produce an heir. Thus, the issue of the inheritance of the Spanish kingdoms including not only Spain, but also dominions in Italy, the Low Countries, and the Americas became a contentious political problem. When Charles died the empire that was held by Spain would pass through the female side of this family to one of the other royal houses of Europe. At issue was the balance of power in Europe. Divded into a complicated puzzle of states ruled by several dominant dynastic families, all jealous of each other and vying for the wealth of the new worlds of Africa, Asia and the Americas, Europe was almost constantly at or on the verge of war. There was a constant forming and shifting of alliances and treaties aimed at keeping a tenuous equality betweenstates. Should any one nation gain too much power, the other countries would be threatened. The Claimants to the Throne There were three European royals who had substantial claims to the throne of Spain. The Bourbon King Louis XIV of France, the son of the eldest daughter of King Phillip III of Spain, whose wife was the sister of King Charles II of Spain, was considered the front runner. Leopold I, the Austrian Emperor, who was the son of the youngest daughter of King Phillip III of Spain, and the husband of Charles II of Spain’s younger sister was seen a close second. The final claimant to Spain’s throne was Joseph Ferdinand, the Electoral Price of Bavaria, who was the grandson of Leopold I and the great-grandson of Phillip IV of Spain. While there were a number of legal questions surrounding the claims to the throne of Spain, the ultimate concern of every nation in Europe was a shift in power that would occur depending on who succeeded to the throne. With this strategic question in mind, another power viewed this as a time for action. On the other side of the English Channel, William III of England saw the potential joining of France with Spain as a tremendous threat to England’s hopes in the New World as well as to the peace of Europe. William began to make overtures to other powers in Europe to from an alliance against whatever the outcome of the Spanish Succession might be. Ultimately, all the maneuvering by the claimants to the throne was for nothing. After Charles II died, on November 1, 1700, his will set all claims to rest by designating Phillip of Anjou, the grandson of Louis XIV of France, as his chosen heir to the throne of Spain and the empire is its entirety. The war William had feared was inevitable. World War In March of 1702, William III of England died, leaving his dead wife’s sister, Anne, as the Queen of England. In May, 1702, William III’s Grand Alliance, England, Austria, Brandenburg-Prussia, the Netherlands, most of the German states, and Portugal with the leadership of Queen Anne and her ministers, declared war on France and Spain. Their opening movement was an attack on the Spanish Netherlands in what would be a head-long rush toward a war that would encompass the globe. When the sides are considered, it is easy to see that there was no other path to be followed. On first look, the Grand Alliance would seem quite the match for Spain and France, but this was only the case in appearance. The majority of the alliance’s members were small nations with no true power unless they banded together with larger nations. Spain had been a global imperial for two hundred years by the start of the war, while France, under Louis XIV, had been moving toward becoming the dominant power on the European continent. With Spain, France, and England all having colonial holdings overseas, it would only be a matter of time before war broke out among the people in those colonies in the name of their home countries and kings. Carolina Declares War To any intelligent Englishman in North America, it must have seemed obvious where the primary threat to Charles Towne, Carolina was. Only a week’s sail to the south, the strong Spanish fortress, of Castillo de San Marcos, and the garrison at San Agustin were like a loaded gun aimed at the heart of the Carolina Colony. Something needed to be done about San Agustin. In late August of 1702, on hearing of the outbreak of Queen Anne’s War, the Carolina Commons started to entertain the idea of an attack against the Spanish in La Florida. By early September, the Commons approved the plan for an attack, proclaiming “the Encouragement to free Plunder and a share of all Slaves,” and “all persons
Territorial Florida National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Second Seminole War, 1835-1842 Castillo de San Marcos National Monument St. Augustine, Florida ( Southern Migration Seminole Indians, c. 1870 The original native inhabitants of Florida had all but disappeared by 1700. European diseases and the losses from nearly constant colonial warfare had reduced the population to a mere handful. Bands from various tribes in the southeastern United States pressured by colonial expansion began moving into the unoccupied lands in Florida. These primarily Creek tribes were called Cimarrones by the Spanish “strays” or “wanderers.” This is the probable origin of the name Seminole. Runaway slaves or “Maroons” also began making their way into Florida where they were regularly granted freedom by the Spanish. Many joined the Indian villages and integrated into the tribes. Early Conflict During the American Revolution the British, who controlled Florida from 1763 to 1784, recruited the Seminoles to raid rebel frontier settlements in Georgia. Both sides engaged in a pattern of border raiding and incursion which continued sporadically even after Florida returned to Spanish control after the war. Despite the formal treaties ending the war the Seminoles remained enemies of the new United States. Growing America At the beginning of the 19th century the rapidly growing American population was pushing onto the frontiers in search of new land. Many eyes turned southward to the Spanish borderlands of Florida and Texas. Several attempts at “filibustering,” private or semi-official efforts to forcibly take territory, occurred along the frontiers. The Patriot War of 1812 was one such failed American effort aimed at taking East Florida. Hostilities continued during the War of 1812 as the British encouraged the Creek tribes to attack Americans. Andrew Jackson became a national hero in these years, defeating the Indians in the Creek War of 1813-1814, then the British at New Orleans in 1815 and finally leading an invasion in 1818 into the West Florida territory to destroy the Seminole strongholds along the Suwannee River. This became known as the First Seminole War. Despite the international repercussions arising from Jackson’s actions, the United States eventually was able to purchase Florida from Spain in 1821 for five million dollars. Andrew Jackson was appointed governor of the new territory. Trails of Tears Land pressure and Indian trouble continued. Though an 1823 treaty with the Seminoles reducing them to a reservation in Central Florida was negotiated, the provisions of the treaty were only slowly implemented, and the Seminoles were reluctant to move into the reservation area. As plantation agriculture grew in North Florida the runaway slave problem continued to aggravate negotiations. In 1828 Andrew Jackson was elected President of the United States. As a security measure and a way of easing land hunger the United States adopted a national policy of Indian removal, essentially trading lands in the west acquired by the Louisiana Purchase for those held in the east by the tribes. Originally a policy of encouragement and negotiation, with the passing of the Indian Removal Act of 1830 it became a policy of reluctant and often forcible emigration for tens of thousands of American Indians to the West. A new treaty was negotiated with some of the Seminole chiefs to remove them to the Creek reservations in Oklahoma. This split the tribes with some agreeing to go west and others refusing to abide by any treaty agreements. Internal tribal conflict, clashes with white settlers, and clandestine aid from Spain quickly sparked armed conflict. The Second Seminole War By December 1835 open warfare erupted. Osceola, a respected Seminole warrior along with some of his followers killed Indian Agent Wiley Thompson at Fort King (near present day Ocala) 50 miles away in the area of present day Bushnell, a column of 108 soldiers led by Brevet Major Francis Dade was ambushed and wiped out almost to a man. A single surviving solder made it back to Fort Brooke, present day Tampa, to tell of the battle. The Second Seminole War had begun. The War lasted from 1835 until 1842. The Seminoles inaugurated a guerilla war raiding plantations along the rivers and coasts, displaced much of the civilian population, and damaged the economy. The United States countered with a massive military buildup of 10,000 regulars backed by 30,000 militia. Establishing a chain of forts across the state to protect supply lines the Army sent expeditions against the Seminole villages, burning houses, running off cattle and destroying crops. Threatened with starvation, the majority of Seminoles finally gave in and fighting faded out by August of 1842. . Approximately 200 to 300 Seminoles were left hiding in the Everglades - a nearly impenetrable swampy wasteland. Aftermath Prior to the Vietnam War, the Second Seminole War was the longest conflict that the US Mi
Florida in World War II National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, St. Augustine, Florida Soldiers go through morning calisthenics while wearing gas masks; Miami Beach, 1943 The Coming of War With the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December of 1941 America entered into the conflict of World War II. As the massive effort of converting the country to a wartime footing began, Florida became a vital resource to the nation. The results of Florida’s involvement would change the state forever. Over the course of four years Florida grew from a small, mostly rural and agricultural state into a massive industrial and training area preparing men and materiel for the war. Instead of tourists Florida was soon filled with recruits. Many of these servicemen and women would remember their time in the Sunshine State and would return after the war was over, contributing to the State’s continuous growth. Military Installations in Florida Florida's weather conditions, flat land and miles of accessible coastline made it ideal for the building of military training bases, especially for aviation and amphibious landing operations.. By 1942 Florida had over 172 military installations, ranging from relatively small specialty camps to extremely large bases. Camp Blanding near Starke became Florida's fourth largest city, growing to 180,000 acres and housing 55,000 soldiers at a time. There were forty airfields actively training military personnel throughout the state. Likewise Naval Stations and Airfields lined the coast from Pensacola in the panhandle to the newly built Mayport Naval Station near Jacksonville. Many of these sites are still active military installations today. Others have been transformed and now form the core of Florida’s State Park system. Economic Stimulus for Florida The war effort sent large amounts of money into Florida, which led to rebuilding and growth after the devastation of the Great Depression. War contracts helped to rebuild Florida's manufacturing, agricultural, and tourism businesses. Defense contracts boosted industry and revitalized Florida cities. Florida's nickname almost changed from the Sunshine State to the Steel State. With the rebuilding of industry, jobs were plentiful, but most men were off fighting in the war. Because of this, World War II provided an opportunity for American women. It helped show that women could handle a man's job. In Florida, women worked in shipyards, welding shops, and military bases. Women also helped run the agriculture industry, where one fourth of all farm workers were women. They were able to take over jobs left behind by the men and keep America stable. In addition to providing the necessary work force needed during the war, women bought war bonds and volunteered as nurses, fire fighters, and even police officers. Florida's citrus industry also thrived. In 1942 Florida became the top citrus producing state in the country surpassing California for the first time. Also Florida citrus growers patented a new process to create frozen concentrated orange juice. The cotton industry also increased its profits. In 1945, researchers in Orlando discovered an insecticide, DDT, which became available for commercial use. The drawback was that the chemical's long-term effects had not yet been tested, and it would later have a negative impact on Florida's wildlife and agricultural industries. The war also changed the appearance of Florida cities with a surge in urban population. The boom had begun. The War Comes to St. Augustine Local youth were being shipped off to the dangerous corners of the world but until August of 1942 when The U. S. Coast Guard took over several local hotels, the direct impact of war on St. Augustine had been limited. The Ponce de Leon Hotel (now Flagler College) was converted into a Coast Guard boot camp, where young men learned the art of war. At any given time, as many 2,500 guardsmen were stationed in St. Augustine. Matanzas Bay was filled with zigzagging boats on maneuver. Even the famous protector of early St. Augustine, the Castillo de San Marcos, played an important part in the Coast Guard's war time role. “The vast grounds of the Fort area were in daily use by boot training companies and here thousands learned close order drill with as many as eight companies deployed there on most days,"reported a local newspaperman. Few then realized just how close the war would come to home. Submarines off the Florida Coast The state's vulnerability became evident shortly after Pearl Harbor. In early 1942 German submarines opened an offensive, code named Operation Drumbeat, against the virtually undefended Allied shipping lanes along the east coast. Before the carnage was over, nearly 400 ships had been sunk, and thousands of lives lost. Dozens of ships were torpedoed just off Florida's Atlantic coast and others in the Gulf of Mexico. German submarine skippers used the light of coastal citie

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