Saturday, August 30, 2008

443rd Anniversary Today


Pedro Menéndez de Avilés was a ruthless and fanatical man but also a daring commander. In the summer of 1565, he led a fleet to Florida's Atlantic coast, making his base at an inlet he discovered on Aug. 28 -- the feast day of St. Augustine. Menéndez gave the theologian's name to the encampment, which would become the longest continuously inhabited European settlement in America.

Menéndez sailed from St. Augustine in search of the French settlement at Fort Caroline near todays Jacksonville, coming upon it just as French reinforcements arrived by sea. He withdrew, but the French flotilla followed -- unwisely, as it turned out, because Menéndez and his men made it safely home just as a hurricane roared into the region, destroying the French ships. Seizing his opportunity, Menéndez pushed his men on a hellish march through swamps and torrents of rain to storm the undermanned Fort Caroline. He massacred almost all of the "Lutheran heretics" there before heading back to St. Augustine. Next Menendez turned his European conquest toward the "depradations" of the "savage" natives.
Our history is replete with "hero/devils". It is what it is.

1 comment:

  1. It is what it is; That is the only way for an enlightened being to look at life. Bruce Lee once said, "The only way; Is the way"...