Nation's Oldest City

St. Augustine, Florida

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 Mose military fort north of St. Augustine, which was established in 1783 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.

In 1740, English forces led by James Oglethorpe attacked and destroyed the fort. Its inhabitants fled to St. Augustine, where they stayed until Fort Mose was rebuilt in 1752. After Florida was ceded to the English in 1763 most of the inhabitants, including many black militia troops, migrated to Cuba with the evacuating Spanish.

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

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