On several occasions in the past we’ve discussed the 1704 English invasion of Florida on this site, most recently in 2017. So much of the way American history is taught is based around English settlements and the Thirteen Colonies branching outward. But before the thirteen English (then British after the Act of Union in 1707) colonies became vibrant economic forces, Florida was thriving under Spanish rule.
In the late 1600’s, St Augustine was arguably as prosperous as any English city in North America including Boston, Philadelphia or New York.
The late 1600’s would represent the apex of Florida’s growth & development prior to the current American era. Following the 1704 English invasion which was part of Queen Anne’s War, Florida would remain in decline or stagnant until after the Civil War. The Spanish territory was largely depopulated and the economy collapsed.
This week, I found the time to visit Mission San Luis in Tallahassee which represents the best reconstruction of what Florida’s Spanish missions looked like in the late 1600’s. The original mission was abandoned during the 1704 English invasion following the Battle of Ayubale. The mission is a must visit for anyone interested in Florida history. Being in Tallahassee it’s overshadowed by newer historical buildings like the Old Capitol and Goodwood Plantation, but deserves several hours of your time for a visit.
Spanish Florida never really recovered its economy or population due to the effects of the war, and was ceded to Britain following the Seven Years’ War in the 1763 Treaty of Paris.
Below pictures of the reconstructed mission as it appears now were taken by my niece Alexa Concannon.