Saturday, November 06, 2010

Old But Not The Oldest

North America

As the City of St. Augustine approaches it's 450th anniversary (in 2015) as the "Oldest City" we must point out, in the interests of accuracy, that it is NOT the oldest permanent European occupied city in North America.

Just as the Genopoly building on St.George Street is amended in it's definition as "The oldest WOODEN schoolhouse" in St. Augustine, we must look more closely. The prevailing thought by hundreds of teachers and students who visit and photograph themselves beside the old clapboards, is that it is the oldest schoolhouse in the nation. Actually it is questionable whether it was ever a schoolhouse. The current and previous owners  (not all ) of the building took broad strokes in it's description to lure in the tourist dollar. It is false history to get the lucre.

As my friends from down Mexico way, who are keenly aware of their own history, remind me they are also from the North American continent and that the "oldest continually occupied  European settlements in North America" are south of  St. Augustine, Florida. They are as follows:

1498 - Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
1510 - Colon Panama
1510- Guantanamo, Cuba
1515 - Havana , Cuba
1519 - Vera Cruz, Mexico
1519 - Panama City, Panama
1521 - San Juan , Puerto Rico
1524 - Granada, Nicaragua
1550 - Acapulco, Mexico
1563 - Cartago, Costa Rica
1565- St. Augustine, Florida
1610 - Hampton, Virginia
1613- Newport News , Virginia
1614, Albany, NY
1620- Plymouth, MA
1660 - Jersey City, N.J.

Acoma  Pueblo and Taos Pueblo  New Mexico. The oldest continuously occupied communities in the United States. The Acoma Pueblo today is known as Sky City. Estimated establishment 1000 A.D.

St. Augustine did not become part of the United States until 1821 two hundred and fifty six years after the Spanish established the town. Boundaries are political lines drawn by governments. History shows us that these things change.

North America is unarguably defined as thus: The northern continent of the Western Hemisphere, extending northward from the Colombia-Panama border and including Central America, Mexico, the islands of the Caribbean Sea, the United States, Canada, the Arctic Archipelago, and Greenland. source..Britannica Concise Encyclopedia

If we sound overly definitive here it is because we must drop our myopic ethnocentric concepts that the United States and it's  non Latin ,( i.e. English heritage) can be the peoples who can claim dominion over "The New World" discoveries.

St. Augustine Florida has a long 440 years of history and false history only clouds a clear understanding of the city's significance. Using uunsubstantiated stories of Ponce de Leon and the mythical Fountain of Youth and the embracing of the fake Hollywood pirate stories is frankly deception to lure the "sucker" dollars from unwary tourists. Let's have real history in our old city not fabrications and doublespeak.

New occasions teach new duties;
Time makes ancient good uncouth;
They must upward still, and onward, who would keep abreast of Truth.
James Russell Lowell

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