Yesterday the City of St Augustine recognized the 500th anniversary of the birth of Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles and this afternoon, Saturday February 16th, Historic City News readers enjoyed a procession along St George Street from the City Gates to the Plaza de la Constitucion as part of the activities commemorating this special birthday.
St Augustine Mayor Nancy Shaver was joined by Cándido Creis, Consulate General of Spain in Miami, for a brief wreath laying ceremony and remarks at the Menendez statue on the circle in front of City Hall.
King Phillip II appointed Menendez to be Governor of Florida and instructed him to explore and to colonize the territory. When Menendez, Spain’s most experienced admiral, arrived off the coast of Florida, it was August 28, 1565, the Feast Day of St. Augustine.
Eleven days later, on September 8, 1565, he and 600 soldiers and settlers came ashore at the site of the Timucuan Indian village of Seloy with banners flying and trumpets sounding. He hastily fortified the fledgling village and named it St. Augustine.
Birthday cake and coffee was served in the Alcazar Room following the ceremony. If only that had been our plan to celebrate the 450th Commemoration we would still have more than a million taxpayer dollars in our treasury to pay for legitimate local government expenses.
Reenactors from the Historic Florida Militia participated in the weekend’s events.