Published: January 3rd 2009January 3rd 2009
Greetings from Savannah, Georgia!
I spent the last day touring the northern parts of Florida. I started out in the western panhandle, went to Tallahassee, Florida State University, and then across central Florida to Jacksonville and Saint Augustine. For those of you in New Jersey, I hear its quite cold up there. Sorry, it is mid-70s here with a great breeze.
So Saint Augustine is the oldest city in America. To be exact, its the oldest continuing city in America. To be more exact, it is the oldest European city in America! There were people living here long before the ships appeared on the horizon.
Some people confuse Jamestown, Virginia as the oldest American settlement. It was actually the oldest English settlement. Saint Augustine did not become an English territory until the Treaty of Paris ended the French-Indian War in 1763. Prior to 1763, the English had attempted many times to take Saint Augustine by force but could never penetrate the Spanish fort. Saint Augustine has a rich history spanning several cultures.
At its earliest roots, it was Native American country. The Spanish anchored at the head of the Matanzas River in 1565. Pedro Menendez was a
prisoner in Spain. Upon his release, he was sent to the New World to drive out the French from Spanish Territory. He successfully defeated the French and established Saint Augustine. Life was rough in Saint Augustine as they had to withstand many attacks from the British in attempts to seize the region. The most notable of which were in 1668 and 1740. In 1668, the city was plundered by the English and almost all of the inhabitants were killed. In 1740, British colonists from Georgia and the Carolinas allied themselves with a Seminole tribe and attempted to take the city.
In 1763, at the end of the French-Indian war, Florida was awarded to the British. It served as a Loyalist colony during the Revolutionary War. At the completion of the war, the Northern colonies were ceded to American independence while Florida was rewarded back to Spanish rule in recognition of their efforts during the war. Again, Florida remained under Spanish control for another 40 years. This time period was riddled with more unrest as Florida remained a high bargaining chip in the French Revolution raging across the Atlantic. Eventually, the US was able to gain control of Florida after
successfully taking out the Seminole's in the first Seminole War. In 1821, Florida became a US territory. The Seminole peoples were pushed tighter and tighter into Central Florida before eventually being blotted out. In 1845, Florida finally became a US State, just in time to get geared up for the Civil War. Florida's young men were enlisted in the Confederate army, some 16,000 of them and just under 5,000 lost their lives.
At the turn of the century, Saint Augustine became a bustling town thanks to the efforts of Rail entrepreneur Henry Flagler. It served as a resort town for the very wealth as so much of Florida does today. Flagler was instrumental in developing the majority of the east coast of Florida to Key West.
That is the very short, very abridged version of what has gone down in this region. You would think the rivers and bay would run red with all the violence shed over this land. It just goes to show you how far Man will go to occupy and own beautiful places!
I think the really sad thing about all of this is that the words "discover" and "settle" are used. We
are all taught as children that brave men fought off savages to provide for us a free world to live in. As always, the victor writes the history. I want to share a Kurt Vonnegut quote that sums it up perfectly:
Teachers of children in the United States of America wrote this date on blackboards again and again, and asked the children to memorize it with pride and joy: 1492. The teachers told the children that this was when their continent was discovered by human beings. Actually, millions of human beings were already living full and imaginative lives on the continent in 1492. That was simply the year in which sea pirates began to cheat and rob and kill them.
On a lighter note, as I mentioned the weather has been gorgeous. It was nice to get to the Atlantic and spend a little time on the beach. Saint Augustine is gorgeous and the downtown region was a lot of fun to walk around. It is packed with antique, gift, clothing, nautical, and book stores and tons of art galleries.
I made the last-minute decision yesterday to head north out of Saint Augustine. The plan was
to camp on the beach but it turned out to be a bust. The spots on the beach no longer allow tents; only RVs. There was one site that allowed tents but their version of "beach camping" was a patch of grass in an RV park fenced in from a surrounding neighborhood across the street from the beach... for $45! So I decided to head up to Savannah.
Talk to you soon!
Day 9 Album Listing:
1. Matt Costa- Unfamiliar Faces
2. Midtown- Save the World, Lose the Girl
3. Muse- Black Holes and Revelations
4. Belle and Sebastian- Life Pursuit
5. The Raconteurs- Broken Boy Soldiers
6. Boys Night Out- Trainwreck
7. The Police- Syncronicity
8. REM- Out of Time
9. Pearl Jam- Ten
10. Shillelagh Law- Together In the End
11. The Shins- Oh, Inverted World
P.S.- Florida is still cowboy country. More traditionally known as a "Cracker Cowboy", the Floridian cowboy did not use the traditional Western saddles, tools, and traditions because their cow were much smaller.
I have been sitting on this for a while but thought you would enjoy it, especially if you like life quotes. This is taken from
the Code of the West. This was an unwritten code regarding etiquette and philosophies on the frontier.
-Don't inquire into a person's past
-Never steal another man's horse
-Defend yourself whenever necessary
-Look out for your own
-Remove your guns before sitting at dining tables
-Never order anything weaker than whiskey
-Don't make threats without expecting dire consequences
-Never pass on the trail without saying "Howdy"
-Give loud grettings before getting within shooting range when approaching from behind
-Don't waive at a man on a horse. You might spook the horse. The proper greeting is a nod.
-After passing someone on a trail, don't look back. It implies you don't trust him.
-Riding another mans horse, without his permission is really as bad as sleeping with his wife.
-Always fill your whiskey glass to the brim
-Don't practice ingratitude
-Never try on another man's hat
-Complaining is what quitters do. Cowboys hate quitters.
-Always help someone in need, even a stranger or an enemy
-Be hospitable to strangers
-Live by the golden rule
-Real cowboys are modest
-Always tend to your horses needs first
-Complain about the cooking, you become the cook
-Cuss all you want but only around
horses and cows
-Drinking on duty is grounds for instant dismissal
-Honesty is absolute
And my favorite!
-Always drink your whiskey with your gun hand. It shows you're of friendly intentions
There are more photos below