On a warm September 8 in the year 1565, 800 Spaniards gathered on the shores of a Florida saltmarsh at the site of a large Native American village known as Seloy. Soldiers and sailors were joined by more than 100 civilians. Married men and women, artisans, tradesmen and children waited in anticipation until at last, Captain General don Pedro Menéndez de Aviles stepped ashore from his longboat. Kneeling and kissing the cross carried by Father Lopez, Menéndez and his officers swore allegiance to God and King and proclaimed this place as “St. Augustine.”
That day marked the beginning of 450 years of people living, working and raising families in what is today the oldest continuously occupied city in the United States.
You only turn 450 years old once, so St. Augustine, Florida, is celebrating in a big way with a year of special events along Florida’s Historic Coast including art exhibits, cultural and religious activities, historical re-enactments and music festivals.