Fort San Carlos (2)

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Fort San Carlos (2) (1816-1821) - A Spanish colonial fort established in 1816 in Old Fernandina on present day Amelia Island, Nassau County, Florida. Abandoned in 1821.

Fort San Carlos Marker Text
Plaza San Carlos Marker Text
Fort San Carlos Marker and Fort Site Location
Fort San Carlos Site Remains circa 1861


Fort San Carlos Portion of 1821 Map
McClures Hill Marker

The Spanish colonial town of old Fernandina was laid out in 1811 in a grid pattern by surveyor George J. F. Clarke. The town occupied a neck of land with water on three sides on Amelia Island.

Fernandina was seized from the Spanish by American forces under General George Mathews in 1812. Negotiations began for the withdrawal of U.S.troops early in 1813. On 6 May 1813, U.S. Army forces abandoned Fernandina and Spanish forces reoccupied the Island.

The Spanish began construction of Fort San Carlos sometime in 1816. The Fort occupied the harbor side south west edge of the town with an eight gun earthworks battery. Two blockhouses protected the land access route on the south side and the whole town was surrounded with pickets. An 1821 map of Fernandina shows the fort occupying the area bounded by Estrada St., White St. and Somervelus St. The town street plan is the same today as it was in 1821.

In 1817, a Scottish mercenary, Gregor MacGregor, led a small army in an assault on Fort San Carlos. On 29 Jun 1817, the Spanish commander abandoned the fort and MacGregor proclaimed the island to be the “Republic of the Floridas”. On 4 Sep 1817 he fled Fernandina, leaving a small garrison at Fort San Carlos.

On 13 Sep 1817 at 3:30pm, the Battle of Amelia Island began when the Spaniards erected a battery of four brass cannons east of the fort and began firing. The Spanish had some 300 men and two gunboats while the defenders had but 94 men and three ships. The Spanish gun battery was positioned on McClures Hill (see marker picture) southeast of the fort and the Spanish troops were positioned between the battery and the fort. The spanish continued the bombardment until dark and, failing to take back the fort, the Spanish commander withdrew.

On 31 Oct 1817, President James Monroe sent U.S. forces to retake Amelia Island and he held it in trust until Florida was ceded to the U.S. by the Adams-Onis Treaty. The U.S. abandoned the fort shortly after the transfer in 1821.

Current Status

Brickwork below the Old Fort Site

Two markers and possibly some remains of the fort. Part of Fernandina Plaza State Park, Nassau County, Florida. This park is essentially a single city block on the site of the Plaza San Carlos and Fort San Carlos. The markers are located along Estrada St. on the east side of the park and the fort site is located along the water (west) side of the park. It is difficult to tell if any of the rubble below the fort site belongs to the old fort including brickwork remains.

Location: Fernandina Plaza State Park, Old Fernandina, Nassau County, Florida.

Maps & Images

Lat: 30.69071 Long: -81.45597

  • Multi Maps from ACME
  • Maps from Bing
  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: .....'



Visited: 29 Feb 2012

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