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Fort Mose Historic State Park

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Title: Fort Mose Historic State Park  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of Florida state parks, Manuel de Montiano, Anastasia State Park, Spanish Florida, History museums in Florida
Collection: 1738 Establishments in the Spanish Empire, African-American Museums in Florida, Former Populated Places in Florida, Former Populated Places in St. Johns County, Florida, Forts on the National Register of Historic Places in Florida, History Museums in Florida, Museums in St. Augustine, Florida, National Historic Landmarks in Florida, National Register of Historic Places in St. Johns County, Florida, Parks in St. Johns County, Florida, Protected Areas Established in 1994, Spanish Colonization of the Americas, Spanish Florida, Spanish Forts in the United States, State Parks of Florida
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Fort Mose Historic State Park

Fort Mose Historic State Park
Site of the old fort
Location St. Johns County, Florida, USA
Nearest city St. Augustine, Florida
Area less than one acre
Governing body Florida Department of Environmental Protection
NRHP Reference # 94001645[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP October 12, 1994[1]
Designated NHL October 12, 1994[2]

Fort Mose Historic State Park (originally known as Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mosé) is a [3]

In 1738, the Spanish colonial governor had Fort Mose (pronounced "Moh-say") built and established as a free black settlement, the first legally sanctioned in what would become the territory of the United States.[4] The fort has also been known as Fort Moosa or Fort Mossa, related to its Spanish pronunciation. The community began when Florida was a Spanish colony.


  • Historical background 1
  • Fort Mose 2
  • Park facilities 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Historical background

The entrance of Fort Mose Historic State Park.
A panorama of the hammocks and salt marsh at the site of Fort Mose.

As early as 1687, the Spanish government had begun to offer asylum to slaves from British colonies. In 1693, the Spanish Crown officially proclaimed that runaways would find freedom in Florida, in return for converting to Catholicism and a term for men of four years' military service to the Crown.[5] In effect, Spain created a maroon colony in Florida as a front-line defense against English attacks from the north. Spain also intended to destabilize the plantation economy of the British colonies by creating a free black community to attract slaves seeking escape and refuge from the british slavery.[6]

Fort Mose

In 1738, the Colonial Governor, Manuel de Montiano, ordered construction of the Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mosé military fort about 2 miles north of St. Augustine. Slaves escaped from the British colonies were directed there. They were recognized as free, and men who passed inspection were taken into the Spanish militia and placed into service. The military leader at the fort, who also served as mayor of the community, was an African-European Creole, baptized as Francisco Menendez. He became established as a leader when helping the defense of St. Augustine in 1727.[7] Fort Mose was the first free African settlement legally sanctioned in what would become the United States and had a total population of about 100.[4] The village had a wall around it, with dwellings inside, plus a church and an earthen fort.

Word of the settlement reached the colonies of South Carolina and Georgia to the north, attracting escaping slaves. Charlestown was approximately 200 miles north of the Florida border. The attraction of Fort Mose is believed to have helped inspire the Stono Rebellion in September 1739.[8] This was led by slaves who were "fresh from Africa."[5] During the Stono revolt, several dozen Africans believed to be from the Kingdom of Kongo tried unsuccessfully to reach Spanish Florida. Some did make it, where they rapidly adjusted to life there, as they were already baptized Catholics (Kongo was a Catholic nation) and spoke Portuguese.[8]

Following the murder of some inhabitants at the fort by British Indian allies, Montiano ordered it abandoned and its inhabitants resettled in St. Augustine. In 1740, British forces led by

  • Fort Mose Historic State Park, official website
  • Fort Mose Historical Site, and Society
  • History of Fort Mose, St. Augustine website
  • St. Johns County listings, National Register of Historic Places
  • St. Johns County listings, Florida's Office of Cultural and Historical Programs
  • Fort Mose, National Park Service
  • Fort Mose Site at The National Park Service – Links to the Past
  • Fort Mose Historic State Park, Wildernet
  • "Fort Mose: America's Black Colonial Fortress of Freedom", Florida Museum of Natural History
  • Fort Mose – ThinkQuest
  • "Fort Mose: A Legacy That Can Not Be Ignored",

External links

  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ a b Darcie Macmahon and Kathleen Deagan, "Legacy of Fort Mose", Archaeology Magazine, Volume 49 Number 5, September/October 1996
  4. ^ a b c Aboard the Underground Railroad – Fort Mose Site, National Park Service
  5. ^ a b Riordan, Patrick: "Finding Freedom in Florida: Native Peoples, African Americans, and Colonists, 1670–1816", Florida Historical Quarterly 75(1), 1996, pp. 25–44.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Berlin, Ira. Many Thousands Gone, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press, 1998. p. 74
  8. ^ a b Berlin (1998), p. 73
  9. ^ a b Berlin (1998), p. 76
  10. ^ Landers, Jane and Darcie MacMahon: Fort Mose: Colonial America's Black Fortress of Freedom, University Press of Florida.(Landers 1999; Landers and MacMahon 1995).


See also

An archeological excavation in 1986 revealed the site of the original Fort Mose, as well as the second facility constructed in 1752. Today, artifacts are displayed in the museum within the visitor center at the park. On the grounds, interpretive panels are used to illustrate the history of the site. Three replicas of historic items have been installed within the park: a chosa or a cooking hut, a small historic garden, and a small Spanish flat boat called a barca chata.

Park facilities

A haven for escaped slaves from the [3] The National Park Service highlights it as a precursor site of the Underground Railroad.[4] This was the network in the antebellum years by which slaves escaped to freedom, most often to the North and Canada, but also to the Bahamas and Mexico.

After East Florida was ceded to the British in the Peace of Paris of 1763, most of the free black inhabitants migrated to Cuba with the evacuating Spanish colonists.[10] At that time, the black population at St. Augustine and Fort Mose totaled about 3,000, of whom about one-quarter were free.[9]


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