Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Side Trip to Ft. Matanzas

On our last day at the beach, we visited Ft. Matanzas--so named because matanzas is the Spanish word for slaughters. Seems when the Spanish decided to take over, the French didn't particularly like the idea and they tried to sail in to fight the Spanish. Unfortunately, they ran into a hurricane and their ships were sunk. Many survived the hurricane only to run into General Pedro Menéndez de Aviles.

For your historical reading pleasure, here is an excerpt from the Ft. Matanzas website.

"With a captured Frenchman as translator, Menéndez described how Fort Caroline had been captured and urged the French to surrender. Rumors to the contrary, he made no promises as to sparing them. Having lost most of their food and weapons in the shipwreck, they did surrender. However, when Menéndez then demanded that they give up their Protestant faith and accept Catholicism, they refused. 111 Frenchmen were killed. Only sixteen were spared - a few who professed being Catholic, some impressed Breton sailors, and four artisans needed at St. Augustine.

Two weeks later the sequence of events was repeated. More French survivors appeared at the inlet, including Jean Ribault. On October 12 Ribault and his men surrendered and met their fate, again refusing to give up their faith. This time 134 were killed. From that time, the inlet was called Matanzas -- meaning "slaughters" in Spanish."

Ft. Matanzas, just south of Crescent Beach, is a really cool National Park that is one of Florida's best kept secrets. This little park (which has NO entrance fee) has great climbing trees right out in the parking lot.

You have to watch out for the monkeys in the trees.

Every 30 minutes, a boat comes and picks up visitors to take them across the river to the fort. Just over Kimbosha's left shoulder.

You get to ride on a cool pontoon boat.

It docks at this brand new dock--right next to the brand new $800,000 sea wall -- that you (taxpayer) just paid for!

Here's the little fort. It's almost like a Barbie house without the elevator. Ugh! More steps!!!

The walls are made up of some stuff --it has a name I can't remember -- but its a bunch of tiny shells meshed together. It really looks cool...I wish you could tell from this picture.

But before you sit down and relax on the steps going up to the 2nd story...you might want to look under the top step for umm....natives.

This fort housed a group of six soldiers. They had very interesting sleeping arrangements. I imagine it was quite cozy. Seems the ground outside would be more comfortable.

After climbing a ladder protruding through a teeny, tiny square hole -- you get to visit the roof. My dear SIL took a picture from the other end of the ladder. I won't show it here...I'm not sure I've forgiven her yet...I'm working on it.

Considering this was our FIRST day of sunshine, the girls were trying to harness every ray they could! Sad, ain't it?

After our visit, we went back to the condo to let the girls soak up as many rays as they could before we had to pack up and leave...

A good time was had by all! Can't wait for next year.

Stay tuned.

9 Click here to Comment!:

Laura said...

I wanted to take my co-op buddies (FL History Co-op) to St. Augustine and Ft. Mantazas, but no doing. I'll just have to make sure to stop next time we take the kiddos down to Central FL.

BTW, I'm looking forward to seeing you on my blog again soon. :)

Kelley said...

How cool!

Soakin' in the rays looks fabulous!

allhisblessings said...

Looks fascinating! I love historical sites and I've never been to Mantazas! We'll have to check it out next time we're near the area.

Mama Weso said...

Who is that cutie with your daughter?

mamajil said...

How fun is this?!! It looks like y'all had a blast. I've missed reading your blog I am trying to catch up on everyones by the end of the weekend....Have a happy Sunday!

Maria Elena said...

Ok now I know how to back-blog-you.
The name of the wall in the fort is Coquina

Anonymous said...

Meggy girl,
THANKS SO MUCH FOR A FABLOUS DAY at your lovely house! :) I had sooo much fun with your daughter! :) She is a pretty special girl! :D
Thanks for the meatloaf, it was amazing! :) I LOVED IT!:)
Looks like yall had way too much fun on that beach trip! :)
Miss ya already!
That cresy Duh girl!

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