Fort Mose - St. Augustine, FL
Posted by: lazyCachers
N 29° 55.757 W 081° 19.513
17R E 468611 N 3310993
Quick Description: Located just north of St. Augustine, Florida.
Location: Florida, United States
Date Posted: 8/4/2008 5:47:13 PM
Waymark Code: WM4C6C
The first underground railroad ran south from English plantations in South Carolina to St. Augustine where runaway black slaves risked their lives seeking sanctuary from the Spanish colonists. The African born refugees were granted freedom if they converted to Catholicism and fought in the black militia. The population had grown so large that a new town at the fort was established. Known as Fort Mose, it was the first free black community in North America.
Fort Mose (pronounced "Moh-say") was the first free black settlement legally sanctioned in what would become the United States. The community began when Florida was a Spanish colony. The Colonial Governor, Manuel Montiano, established the fortified town in 1738, where it became a haven for escaped slaves from the English colonies to the north. Because of this, it is considered a precursor site of the Underground Railroad.
The military leader at the fort was a man of African origin named Francisco Menendez
A National Historic Landmark, Fort Mose is a precursor site of the Underground Railroad, demonstrating that resistance to slavery was both early and fierce, and that it arose decades before abolitionism became organized and influential. The fort, established as part of the northern defense line for Spanish St. Augustine during the mid-18th century, was the earliest known legally sanctioned free black community in the present United States. Its site contains archeological evidence of Native American occupations and the later British, second Spanish, and American presence.
Fort Mose's inhabitants were mainly runaway black slaves from the British colonies of South Carolina and Georgia, who escaped to freedom to Spanish, Florida in small groups at least as early as 1687. The Spanish Governors of Florida established Fort Mose in 1738, abandoned it in 1740, but reestablished the fort at a nearby site in 1752. In defending their freedom and Spanish Florida in the middle decades of the 18th century, the black inhabitants of Fort Mose played a significant role in the geopolitical conflicts between Britain and Spain in the Southeast.