Saint Augustine town is the first European settlement in the entire United States of America
Always trying to be politically correct, Americans avoid saying that Saint Augustine is the first town in the USA. Founded in 1565 for a Spanish conquistador, they prefer to call it the first European settlement in the country, in a way to respect the native Americans that live in the American continent on a more nomad way but still for thousands of years.
This part of the country, which is Florida state, was the stage for several different conflicts. It has a confusing history. It was colonized first by the Spaniards, then the French, and finally the English. The Spanish settlers were the first and the last European people to colonize it before its independence from Europe, which happened about 100 years after the American independence. Florida became an American state only in 1821. Saint Agustine therefore became part of the USA at the same time.
Plaza de la Constitución
My trip to Saint Augustine was a quick trip, as I tend to do always. Travelers in Florida do know this little town as a name, so it is not an unusual destination. It is market as a historical place to visit in most of the tourism guides. As I am always curious, on my way to the High Point Furniture market in North Carolina, I did a quick stop to check it out as it was not that far from I95 highway that connects all the East coast.
It only took me an hour for the express checking and cureosear, as they say in Spanglish, a little bit. It was worth it. Very beautiful architecture. It is difficult to find in the USA historical places, as most of the time contractors demolish old buildings and build the new high rises. Anyways, Saint Augustine is a good town for a lay down vacation with cozy restaurants, and lots of history, altogether with white sand beaches not that far from downtown.
Saint Augustine’s cathedral
Unfortunately, there are too many signs and it is all so clean and organized that it lacks a little the genuine aspect. It does not feel that the town is really 500 years old. In the USA there are replicas of old buildings that may look older than the ones you see there that it feels a little bit that maybe those constructions were new, not 500 year old, whatever. What matters is that it is very beautiful and the maintenance is perfect and resistant to hurricanes. There are several picturesque places to visit, beyond parks, and museums.
The most interesting historical constructions in my point of view are: the first Catholic church, dated 1865 and the Constitution square, which is the oldest public space in the USA. It feels very good to walk through the streets of Saint Augustine and appreciate the old buildings with different French, Spanish, or British styles. Several conflicts between Christians and Catholics have happened during the colonial period. This also explains the variety on the construction architecture you can see there. The City Hall is the most curious one. It has medieval and modern American architecture style at the same time.
Posing in front of the Lightner Museum
In a state where most towns look like big malls, skyscrapers, highways, full of parking lots and confusing street names run by numbers, and lots of driving, this well preserved first European settlement in the USA is a good option to get a break from structured modern life. Obviously, Saint Augustine names everything there, including a bank! Good bless you, Saint Augustine.
Bank of Saint Augustine
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Sobre o autor: Agustin Cáceres