Hoff's Aliner Travels
A Travel Blog for US and Canadian Parks with Geological Notes

Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, St. Augustine, Florida

Castillo de San Marcos is North America’s oldest masonry fortification and was built to protect St. Augustine from pirates and British forces trying to expel the Spanish. The fort was finished in time to withstand a two month British siege in 1702. Another 38 day siege in 1740 was also repelled and the fort was never taken.

History of St. Augustine and the Fort

From a military view, the fort is one of the few places on the continent to take us back to the feudal ages. The drawbridge weighed 1800 pounds and took 3 soldiers 15 minutes to raise. The cannons were not steel, but bronze or iron. One 3,000 pound cannon exploded and killed 3 soldiers in 1702. The fort was effective, however. The star shape of the fort allowed crossfire from cannon and musket. Thick fort walls and a rising slope deflected incoming cannonballs. The Coquina stone also allowed the fort to survive cannonball attack by absorbing the energy of cannonballs instead of breaking and crumbling into fragments.


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