African American Contributions To Florida History: This way of thinking was prevalent in a country with a strong Catholic tradition. It was the duty of masters and or the Church to teach the rudiments of the faith to all men, whether free or enslaved, so that they could be admitted into the Church and receive all of its sacraments. In order to protect the sanctity of the family, these sacraments required that family members remain together. Intricate kinship arrangements, such as holders serving as godparents and marriage sponsors, were used to bind enslaved people to their owners in the Church.

African American Contributions To Florida History: In conquering and colonising the Americas, Spain had two goals in mind: to bring wealth to the Spanish Crown, and to bring new converts to the Catholic faith through their efforts. All of the lands they conquered were taken over by missionaries, who christened the Native Americans and established a vast network of farms & information sources. There were both free and slave Africans in the Spanish armed forces in Europe and on their first Atlantic voyages.

African American Contributions To Florida History

Africans Come To Florida

African American Contributions To Florida History: St. Augustine was founded in 1565 by Pedro Menéndez de Avilés with the help of both free & enslaved Africans. They constructed several buildings, along with a church, a blacksmith shop, and an artillery platform, while working on early fortifications and sawing timber. Planting and harvesting crops required clearing land.

African American Contributions To Florida History: The first known arrival of fugitive slaves from Carolina in St. Augustine occurred in October 1687. A three-year-old nursing child, eight men and two women, or a three-year-old nursing child must have escaped in a boat, Governor Diego de Quiroga reported to Spain. A castillo in San Marcos was built by six men, but two more were hired to work with the blacksmith, possibly indicating that they already had skills in that area. The governor’s house employed the women as servants. According to reports, they were all compensated for their time.When an English official did arrive to claim them the following fall, Governor Quiroga refused to publish them on the grounds that they’d been transferred to Catholicism, had married local residents, and were otherwise useful to the community at that time. As a result, a fugitive slave policy was established in Florida. “Giving liberty to all… the men as well as the women…so that by their eg and so by my liberality others would do the same,” King Charles II wrote in 1693.

A Free Black Town

African American Contributions To Florida History: Additional royal decrees were issued in 1733, reinforcing the offer of freedom, prohibiting the English from reimbursing escaped slaves, & requiring four years of service to the Crown in order of becoming free. So many escaped slaves arrived in Florida in 1738 that Governor Manuel de Montiano granted them a plot of land north of St. Augustine where they could build with there own settlement & fort, two miles north of the city. As a result of their conversion to Catholicism, the people adopted Spanish names and a Spanish-influenced culture. Fort Mose (pronounced “mo-say”), also known as Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose, was the first legally recognised free African settlement in North America.

The original description of the fort described it as an earthen fort with thatched huts in the Indian style. There were 38 men and their families living in the community, which had an estimated population of around 100. To defend St. Augustine in the event of an attack, men were obligated to serve in the militia. An African veteran of the Yamasee Wars, Francisco Menéndez, served as the settlement’s militia captain and served as its unofficial leader until a Spanish officer arrived in 1715.

People in Mose were ordered by Montiano to flee to St. Augustine in 1740 when British troops from Georgia attacked the city. Spanish soldiers and the Mose militia retook Fort Mose from the British after a surprise attack that decimated the British army, but the fort was destroyed. Governor Garca de Sols ordered the Mose residents to return and rebuild their settlement in 1752 after they had been absent for a decade. These African settlers fled to Cuba with the rest of the Spanish from St. Augustine in 1763, when Florida was given to the British as part of the Treaty of Paris.

African American Contributions To Florida History: There are no traces of Fort Mose’s earth and wooden structures, but visitors can still see where it stood at Fort Mose Historic State Park. The Fort Mose Historical Society hosts annual events and an interactive museum at the location. As part of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, Fort Mose is included in the network.

Social Position

African American Contributions To Florida History: Blacks were still subject to racial prejudice in the Spanish colonies, despite the fact that slavery was considered an accident of fate rather than a permanent or predetermined condition, and the Spanish slave code allowed for a significant free black class to exist for both Spain and the New World, Those who remained after the expulsion of the Moors in 1492 were placed at the bottom of the social ladder. Although a person could rise the social ladder through marriage, wealth, military service, or the sponsoring of a person of higher status this remained the norm for centuries.

A multi-racial and multi-ethnic society developed throughout the Americas and the Caribbean, despite the fact that most Africans married others of African descent. White Europeans, Native Americans and mixed-blood spouses were also common. The Spanish developed an extremely well-organised system for determining an individual’s precise genetic lineage. The term “morenos” was used to refer to people of African descent. Castas, or people of mixed African, European, and Indian ancestry, were commonly referred to as such. When two Spaniards marry Mexican women, the children they have are mulattos. Moriscos are the children of a mulatto and a Spaniard who married. Mestizos were the term given to the offspring of Spanish settlers and Native American tribes.

African American Contributions To Florida History

Africans In The Military

African American Contributions To Florida History: Only in the military were lower-status individuals able to rise to the top, regardless of race. During the African War, African soldiers served in separate units, each with a distinct command structure. Almost every Spanish colony had a black militia, and their European military units were also multiracial.

At least as far back as 1683, Black residents of Florida organised themselves into a militia. As part of the War of Jenkins’ Ear, Vera Cruz and Havana-based black troops served in Florida (1739-1742). Black Havana troops led by Spanish Louisiana governor Bernardo de Gálvez defeated British forces at Baton Rouge, Manchac, Mobile, and Pensacola during the American Revolution.

Doctor Susan Parker, a St. Augustine historian, says the Fort Mose militia was frequently stationed at the Francisco Redoubt, the earthen city walls’ southernmost cannon platform. It’s possible that they went to Fort Matanzas on a regular basis as a unit. Sergeant 2nd Class Lorenzo Brito of the Colored Company of Havana was one of the soldiers present at the last muster at Fort Matanzas, five days before the formal transfer to the United States in 1821.

The Florida military was a priority for Free Blacks. In the end, they would be enslaved if Florida went to the British. Because military service was a possible route to freedom, even enslaved men volunteered.

African American Contributions To Florida History: Changing Times

African American Contributions To Florida History: The Adams-Onis Treaty, signed in 1821, transferred Florida from Spain to the United States. Despite the fact that this treaty recognized the rights of free people of color, the majority of the Black militia and their families fled to Cuba, as they had done in 1763 when the colony was handed over to the British. Only those who felt safe in the new U.S. territory because they owned a substantial amount of property remained.

Freedmen’s rights, however, were soon violated by legislation. It was illegal for free African Americans to join together, carry guns or serve on juries, or testify against whites because of laws restricting their freedoms. Curfews and unfair taxes were imposed on them. Even if they were whipped for minor misdemeanors, they could be forced back into slavery as a form of payment for debts or fines. Children of previous interracial marriages could not inherit their parents’ estates because such unions were illegal. More mixed-race families, like the Kinsley’s of Fort George Island, were forced to flee Florida as a result of these regulations.

Some free African Americans were forced to flee to the Seminoles by these repressive laws. Some of the wealthier citizens of Haiti left to settle in other Caribbean countries. About 1000 free blacks remained in Florida by the year 1850, according to estimates (compared to 39,000 enslaved). Learn about the history of African Americans from 1821 to the present day.