Fort Matanzas

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Fort Matanzas (1740-1821) - First established in 1740 by the Spanish at the entrance to St. Augustine Harbor, Florida. Abandoned in 1821.

Fort Matanzas
Fort Matanzas Cannons

First Spanish Period (1740-1763)

The need for Fort Matanzas was made clear to the Spanish when British General Oglethorpe laid an unsuccessful siege to St. Augustine in 1740. Construction on Fort Matanzas began that year and continued until 1742. The fort was a bastion like rock tower on Rattlesnake Island that commanded the channel into St. Augustine with six cannons. General Oglethorpe returned in 1743 to try and take St Augustine again but when he saw the fortifications at Fort Matanzas he gave up the effort and sailed away.

English Period (1763-1783)

The British gained control of Florida and Fort Matanzas with the Treaty of Paris (1763) and they garrisoned the fort with 30 troops and two 18 pounders. The British additionally stationed two armed galleys in the harbor and they maintained control through the American Revolution. In 1783 the British ceded control of Fort Matanzas back to Spain.

Second Spanish Period (1783-1821)

Control of Florida and the fort was returned to Spain in the 1783 with the Treaty of Paris (1783). Spanish influence in the world had waned and they could no longer afford to maintain a vast network of remote outposts and Fort Matanzas fell into disrepair. By 1821 the fort was already in ruins.

U.S. Control

In the 1819 Adams-Onis Treaty Spain ceded control of Florida and Oregon to the United States. This treaty was not ratified until 1821 and the full effects were not felt until 1822. U.S. troops did not garrison the fort after 1822 because it was considered of little military value and there were more pressing problems elsewhere. The fort remained in ruins until 1933 when it was transferred to the National Park Service and preservation efforts began.

Current Status

NPS Ferry Boat

Period guns and mounts in place. Access is by a regularly scheduled National Park Service boat from the Fort Matanzas National Monument Visitor Center.

Location: Fort Matanzas National Monument, St. Johns County, Florida.

Maps & Images

Lat: 29.715235 Long: -81.239018



Visited: 16 Jan 2010

Fort Matanzas Picture Gallery

Click on the picture to see a larger version. Contribute additional pictures - the more the better!

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