Oldest City

Florida Superlative

The Oldest City

St. Augustine is the nation’s oldest city, right? The Spanish explorer and Florida’s First Governor Pedro Menendez de Aviles disembarked from his ship in St. Augustine in 1565, set up camp, and the rest is history, as they say. But what about Jean Ribault, Rene Goulaine de Laudonnaie and Fort Caroline in 1562? Or maybe Mayport, which Ribault sailed passed on his way to the high bluff on which Fort Caroline sits? And what about Don Tristan de Luna y Arellano trotting around Pensacola in 1559? Of course all of these “earliest” settlements are European settlements. It seems as though in the race for the oldest Florida’s more 50 indigenous cultures encountered by Europeans simply don’t “count.”

St. Augustine is the nation’s oldest continuous settlement by Europeans. Fort Caroline, you lose out. De Laudonnaie and Ribault established their fort and hung around for a bit, but ultimately…

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About J. Chambliss

Julian Chambliss is professor of History and coordinator of the Africa and African-American Studies program at Rollins College in Orlando, Florida. With research, teaching, and service centered real and imaginary urban spaces, he is an interdisciplinary scholar and award-winning teacher. He has designed digital humanities projects to investigate community and document black culture in the United States. Follow him on Twitter @JulianChambliss.
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