History Of Fort Matanza And Castillo De San Marcos

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The History of Fort Matanzas and the Castillo De San Marcos St. Augustine, Florida is home to two of the most famous and historical forts in the United States: Fort Matanzas and the Castillo De San Marcos. Every year people travel to the oldest city in America (St. Augustine) to visit these amazing structures. Even more amazing is the vast history behind their construction. That being said, one cannot properly recite the history of Fort Matanzas without first explaining its reason for existence: St. Augustine and the Castillo De San Marcos. In 1565, Pedro Menendez founded the city of St. Augustine in the name of Spain. The need for some type of security was obviously a concern for the Spanish and so several wooden forts were built to ensure the security of the town. After two separate attacks on the town, the queen of Spain allowed the start of the construction of the Castillo De San Marcos. Construction began in 1672 and was not fully completed until 1695. The main difference between the Castillo and the wooden forts that came before was the fact that the Castillo wasn’t wooden at all. Not having much of a choice, the Spanish had constructed it out of a material called “coquina.” In Spanish coquina means “shellfish” or “little shells.” The reason this name was given to the material was because although it is now considered a kind of limestone, it is composed of sea shell fragments molded together by calcium citrate. One would think this material to be brittle and frankly not the ideal material for a fort but that is incorrect. Coquina has millions of tiny air pockets (invisible to the naked eye) that actually work to absorb impact. In other words, firing a cannon ball at a structure composed of coquina would at most, become lodged a few inches into the wall. However, the wall would become notorious for deflecting cannon balls, as will be explained in more

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