In March of 1565, Admiral Don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés is awarded an asiento, or contract, by Felipe II of Spain. The contract, signed on the 20th of March, appoints Menendez as adelentado, governor of provinces or of the specific region he was charged with conquering. Such a role is often given in exchange for funding of the initial exploration and is the case here, Felipe would advance 15,000 ducats to Menendez and give him three years to complete the task. The contract also comes at a time when the French Huguenots where trying to establish a colony at in Florida at Fort Caroline, which incenses Felipe, as the country had been previously explored by the Spainiards they claimed it as theirs. Charged with removing the French, Menendez would sail on the 28th of July with the San Pelayo, ten sloops and 1500 men.
The fleet would make a stormy crossing after which the vessels met in Puerto Rico where Menendez gathered some of the scattered fleet, pushing onward. He would make Florida landfall on the 28th of August, the Feast Day of St. Augustine of Hippo and named the territory San Agustin. Sailing to the North the French would finally be encountered outside the mouth of the St. Johns River. There, after a brief skirmish, the French fled and Menendez fell back to the bay he had previously landed, San Agustin, and began to fortify the Timicuan village of Seloy.
It was here, on September 8th, 1565 that Pedro Menéndez de Avilés stepped ashore amidst the sound of trumpet and drum, the firing of cannon, and the shout of the six hundred which had accompanied him on his voyage. This landing of Pedro Menendez would mark Spain’s official possion of Florida!
Read More: Firsthand Account by Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales
OUR REENACTMENT – 2016
The Men of Menendez will be participating in the First Thanksgiving at the Fountain of Youth on Sept.10, 2016.
Here is a BASIC schedule- details will be posted as we receive them!
10:00 a.m. MoM will fire a short round of cannon and musket salutes from the shore of the Fountain of Youth as Menendez makes his landing on the grounds of the Mission. This is a ceremony/service held by the church- it is NOT a Men of Menendez event. (Anyone may attend the service at the Mission- please go unarmed!)
12:30 p.m. Menendez (Portrayed at the FoY by MoM member Mark Menendez) will be met at a designated area and a procession will enter the Fountain of Youth. The procession will end at the MoM encampment.