Castillo de San Marcos
St. Augustine, Florida
April 2000
The Spanish crown finally got fed up with the English and other pirates burning and sacking their town, so in 1672 they commissioned the building of the massive fort, Castillo de San Marcos.  The fort was constructed of coquina, a seashell/sand composition which was quarried on a nearby island.  The coquina was cut into blocks and allowed to dry in the sun.  It became rock hard, but they were uncertain of its durability, so they built the walls 12 feet thick at the base and 8 feet thick at the top.  There is a moat on three sides, but it was not intended to be filled.  When filled one time, the mosquito problem became unbearable.  After 23 years, the fort was completed in 1695 and has never been captured in battle.

In 1702 the English returned!  The townspeople took refuge in the fort for almost two months, and the English burned the town again and bombarded the fort with canon fire.  The canon balls either bounced off the coquina or were imbedded in its resilient surface.  At night the Spanish went out and collected the canon balls and shot them back at the English the next day.

Exterior Wall
Spanish Flag 
over Fort
Stairway leading
to the Gun Deck
Out to Sea
Interior Walls
Lower Level
looking out to Sea
St. Peter's 
Exterior Coquina
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