Florida Museum of Natural History

The last decades of the sixteenth century were times of administrative changes, natural and military disasters, and social experimentation for St. Augustinians. In 1572 the town itself was moved from Anastasia Island to its present location, partly because of the disastrous erosion of the Island site, and partly because the Timucua in the immediate vicinity of St. Augustine were largely pacified. After Menéndez's death in 1574, Florida's administration was turned over to his heirs, who mismanaged the colony's governance and finances. As a consequence, St. Augustine became a crown colony in 1576, and Pedro Menendéz de Aviles' nephew, Pedro Menéndez Marquez, was appointed by the crown as governor, accountable to the King. This was no longer a struggling military outpost, but was by now a Spanish colonial town community with an increasing sense of stability, and a growing number of families who developed their own, uniquely Floridian strategies for surviving in the face of adversity.

Click here to browse the artifacts and characters
of this unique period of time!