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Pedro Menendez de Aviles, by Francisco de Paula Marti, 1791


Captain Pedro Menendez de Aviles to be a Spanish sailor, soldier, explorer, and conquistador that was sent out by Philip II the Spain to remove the French from Florida. He collection up camp in what is this day the city of St. Augustine and introduced his overland march to take fort Caroline. He then marched south to find the shipwrecked French and put them to the sword.

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Born ~ above February 15, 1519, in Aviles, Spain, that was among 20 brothers and sisters. Discovering his inheritance would be small, he chose to knife his livelihood as a seaman. In ~ the age of 14, that ran far to sea, embarking on a delivery that sailed from Santander to interact French pirates. Top top his return, he offered a part of his patrimony and purchased a courage of his own. Among his most celebrated feats emerged in 1549 as soon as he encountered Jean Alphonse, the many feared the the corsairs. ~ boarding the pirate’s ship he fought a single-handed duel with Alphonse, mortally wounding him.

In 1565, King Philip II the Spain selected Menéndez to outfit and command a colonizing expedition to Florida. The an initial objective the the mission to be to eradicate a French Huguenot negotiation at fort Caroline at the mouth that the St. Johns River. The second objective to be to create fortified negotiations along the coastline to carry out refuge native hurricanes and also pirates for the sweetheart fleets returning to Spain by way of the Bahama Channel.


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St. Augustine, Florida Colony


Menendez sailed from Spain in July 1565 with 11 pearls and around 2,000 soldiers. They landed in Florida harbor on respectable 28, 1565, where they created a negotiation they dubbed St. Augustine, i beg your pardon is now the oldest continually-inhabited city in the joined States.

Menendez marched north through 500 soldiers to attack the weakly guarded French colony of Fort Caroline on September 20, 1565. The is thought that the Spanish camped overnight nearby, and also attacked early. Fourty or fifty French people escaped and also sailed because that France. The end of the staying 200 people, only about 60 women and children were spared.

Menendez following marched south and also found the shipwrecked Frenchmen, Ribault amongst them. They threw us on his mercy, but, come Menendez, they to be heretics and enemies the his king. At a place later named Matanzas (Slaughter), he put to the sword around 350 males – all yet those professing to be Catholics and also a couple of musicians. France never ever again strongly challenged Spanish insurance claims in phibìc America.

Menendez also explored the coast of phibìc America as much north as St. Helena Island, south Carolina, and built a cable of forts, firmly developing Spain’s control of Florida.

Menendez’s daring exploits and naval prowess winner him fame, fortune, and also increasingly crucial missions come command. In 1554 Emperor Charles V called Menendez captain-general the the Fleet that the Indies, a place which offered an excellent opportunities for personal gain by rarely often rare methods. But, unlike many of his predecessors, Menéndez was a man of integrity and refused to take it bribes. In 1555 that made the an initial of 6 transatlantic trips to America.

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In 1568 Menéndez to be appointed the governor of Cuba. Drawing upon his experiences together captain-general that the Fleet the the Indies, he perfected the convoy-escort fleet, i beg your pardon helped safeguard the sweetheart fleets indigenous the crimes of pirates. In 1572 Menéndez returned to Spain, wherein King Philip II appointed him captain-general of the Armada that was to invade England. Menendez’s unexpected death on September 17, 1574, may have altered the course of history. The “invincible” Armada, which sailed on its devastating mission in 1588, was consequently entrusted come the duke of Medina-Sidonia, a courageous man yet an inept seaman.