Fort Mose Historic State Park

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Fort Mose Historic State Park
Site of the old fort
Location:St. Johns County, Florida, USA
Nearest city:St. Augustine, Florida
Coordinates:29°55′40″N 81°19′31″W / 29.92778°N 81.32528°W / 29.92778; -81.32528Coordinates: 29°55′40″N 81°19′31″W / 29.92778°N 81.32528°W / 29.92778; -81.32528
Area:less than one acre
Governing body:State
NRHP Reference#:94001645[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP:October 12, 1994[1]
Designated NHL:October 12, 1994[2]
 
Jump to: navigation, search
Fort Mose Historic State Park
Site of the old fort
Location:St. Johns County, Florida, USA
Nearest city:St. Augustine, Florida
Coordinates:29°55′40″N 81°19′31″W / 29.92778°N 81.32528°W / 29.92778; -81.32528Coordinates: 29°55′40″N 81°19′31″W / 29.92778°N 81.32528°W / 29.92778; -81.32528
Area:less than one acre
Governing body:State
NRHP Reference#:94001645[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP:October 12, 1994[1]
Designated NHL:October 12, 1994[2]

Fort Mose Historic State Park (originally known as Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mosé) is a U.S. National Historic Landmark (designated as such on October 12, 1994),[2] located two miles north of St. Augustine, Florida, on the eastern edge of a marsh. The original site of the fort was uncovered in a 1986 archeological dig. The 24-acre (9.7 ha) site is now a Florida State Park, administered through the Anastasia State Recreation Area. Fort Mose was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1994. The fort has also been known as Fort Moosa or Fort Mossa.

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 territory.

Contents

Historical background

As early as 1687, the Spanish government had begun to offer asylum to slaves in British colonies and in 1693 that asylum was made official by the Spanish Crown, that made it known that runaways would find freedom in Florida, in return for Catholic conversion and a term of four years of service to the Crown.[3] In effect, Spain created a maroon colony as a front-line defense against English attacks from the north. Spain also aimed to destabilize the plantation economy of the British colonies to the north by creating a free black community that would serve as a beacon for slaves seeking escape and refuge.[4]

Fort Mose

Incoming freedom seekers were recognized as free, taken into the Spanish militia and placed into service at the Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mosé military fort north of St. Augustine, which was established in 1738 by the Colonial Governor, Manuel de Montiano. The military leader at the fort was a Creole man of African origin, who was baptized as Francisco Menendez by the Spanish[5] Word of the existence of free black settlement reached the Province of South Carolina to the north and helped to set off the Stono Rebellion in September 1739. During the slave revolt, several dozen blacks attempted to reach Spanish Florida unsuccessfully.

In 1740, British forces led by James Oglethorpe attacked and destroyed the fort in the Siege of Fort Mose. During the siege, a force consisting of Spanish troops, Indian auxiliaries and free black militiamen counterattacked Oglethorpe's troops, forcing them back to Savannah. Because the fort was destroyed in the attack, its inhabitants relocated to St. Augustine, where they stayed until Fort Mose was rebuilt in 1752. After East Florida was ceded to the British in the Peace of Paris of 1763 most of the inhabitants, including many black militia troops, migrated to Cuba with the evacuating Spanish.[6]

Because Fort Mose became a haven for escaped slaves from the British colonies to the north, it is considered a precursor site of the Underground Railroad.[7]

See also

Sources

  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. http://nrhp.focus.nps.gov/natreg/docs/All_Data.html. 
  2. ^ a b "Fort Mose Site". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. 2008-06-20. http://tps.cr.nps.gov/nhl/detail.cfm?ResourceId=2214&ResourceType=Site. 
  3. ^ Riordan, Patrick: Finding Freedom in Florida: Native Peoples, African Americans, and Colonists, 1670-1816, pages 25-44. Florida Historical Quarterly 75(1), 1996.
  4. ^ Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker (2001), The many-headed hydra: sailors, slaves, commoners, and the hidden history of the revolutionary Atlantic, Beacon Press, p. 205, ISBN 978-0-8070-5007-1, http://books.google.com/books?id=PwrovfJvlKsC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false 
  5. ^ Berlin, Ira. Many Thousands Gone. p. 74
  6. ^ Landers, Jane and Darcie MacMahon: Fort Mose: Colonial America's Black Fortress of Freedom, University Press of Florida.(Landers 1999; Landers and MacMahon 1995).
  7. ^ Aboard the Underground Railroad - Fort Mose Site

External links