Andrew Batten reported to Historic City News that our readers are welcome to attend a recreation of the United Kingdom’s “14th Colony” in America and life at the tiny British garrison at Fort Matanzas circa 1783. Amidst troubling rumors that the British government intended to return Florida to the Spanish, this news meant that the Loyalists, once again, had been cast adrift by the fortunes of war.
On Saturday, April 7, 2018, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Florida Living History volunteers, in partnership with the National Park Service’s Fort Matanzas National Monument, will present “Last Outpost of Empire”, a new heritage event. Admission to the day’s activities is free of charge.
“Florida colonists and Loyalist refugees from Georgia and the Carolinas will describe the price they paid for loyalty to the Crown; losing everything they’d gained in America as the Rebellion came to an end,” Batten said.
For twenty years, from 1763 to 1783, British East Florida was part of the British Empire consisting of peninsular Florida, with its western boundary at the Apalachicola River and its capital at the old Spanish city of St. Augustine, founded in 1565.
“Menorcans, indentured laborers from the Mediterranean who fled to St. Augustine following the 1777 collapse of Dr. Turnbull’s New Smyrna plantation, will talk about life in colonial Florida under British rule and the reasons they decided to remain in St. Augustine when the Spanish returned.” Fort Matanzas National Monument spokesman Chris Leverett told local reporters.
- Demonstrations of British artillery drill and cannon firings will occur at regular intervals throughout the day
- Loyalist and British soldiers, garrisoning Fort Matanzas, will demonstrate the military skills needed to fight for King George on America’s Southern frontier
- British sailors from the frigate, HMS Belisarius, will discuss life in the Royal Navy while pursuing American privateers and convoying fleets of evacuees fleeing from the advancing rebel army to safety in Florida
At 2:00 p.m. Dr. Sam Turner, of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum will present a lecture – “Late British East Florida naval matters and the Storm Wreck”
The new “Last Outpost of Empire” heritage Event is sponsored by non-profit Florida Living History, Inc., and by Fort Matanzas National Monument. Funding for this event is provided, in part, by the Florida Humanities Council and by the continued generosity of donors like you.