St. Augustine (FLA)
St. Augustine has been recognized as the oldest European settlement in the territory of the present-day United States. Many conquerors, namely Juan Ponce de León in 1513, Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón in 1526, Pánfilo de Narváez in 1527, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and Hernando de Soto in 1539, explored the area in the conquest of Florida, but none of them established any stable settlements.
It was in 1565 when Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, who was commissioned by the Crown to fight the Protestants, founded St. Agustine’s fort, in La Florida, to be the starting-point for the conquest of La Florida.
Because of its strategic position and value, it was besieged and harassed by pirates and corsairs and even set ablaze, which is why it had to be rebuilt and fortified again. As a result, St. Mark’s Castle was built to serve as a defensive fort. Its original design, dating back to 1672, still stands today.