Join Us in Sunny Florida!
y 1492 the last Muslims fleeing the Inquisition left the coasts of Iberia, setting off a train of events unforeseen by any but the God of Providence, Lord of the Earth. The House of Aragon and the House of Castile had earlier united in the marriage of cousins, 17-year-old King Ferdinand and 18-year-old Queen Isabella, combining the kingdoms that eventually led to the modern nation called Spain. In 1492 they gave approval for a skilled navigator, designated “Admiral of the Oceans,” Christopher Columbus, to seek a sea route to the Far East by sailing westward across the Atlantic Ocean.
While the 16th Century would become the era of the Reformation, Europe would also witness the rise of the mighty empire of Spain that would encircle the globe, conquer ancient civilizations, and brook no successful challengers to its professional, arrogant, and rapacious armies. The explorers launched out into the oceans, closely followed by the conquistadors and the missionary priests of the Roman Catholic Church, baptizing the conquered peoples and leaving a cultural influence that continues to thrive in South America, Central America, and the American southwest.
The legacy of Spanish conquest still lies embedded in the oldest continuously inhabited place in the continental United States, St. Augustine. Founded on “St. Augustine’s Day” in the liturgical calendar, a great fortress known as Castillo de San Marcos (The Castle of St. Mark) arose, to tower over the settlement both as a protection for the Spaniards defending the frontiers, as well as a potential launching pad for the further conquest of North America.
Join historian Bill Potter as we explore the ancient sites of northeastern Florida, redolent with the sea breezes of the Atlantic and steeped in a providential history that helped create the English civilization that became embedded north of Florida and brought about the abandonment of the outposts of Spain’s Empire in North America. We will tell the stories of the Fort at St. Augustine and the French Huguenot colony at Jacksonville, Ft. Caroline. We will remember the courageous Reformed settlers who brought the Gospel to the natives of the region and their subsequent extermination by the Spanish for the capitol crime of rejecting the Catholic Church and following the Calvinist Reformation. We will examine the lives and times of fearless conquistadors, superstitious explorers seeking the fountain of youth, the ferocious no-holds-barred Scots-Irish General Andrew Jackson who seized Florida and would not give it back, and the natives who suffered through all the invasions and fought a war with the United States that was never concluded!
We will also attend one of the most interesting Sesquicentennial Civil War reenactments of 2014 at the scene of the largest battle fought in Florida. A Confederate victory in a strange place of palm trees and swamp grass, the Battle of Olustee took place hundreds of miles from the main theaters of action. The army of Georgia and Florida Regiments routed an army of New York, Massachusetts and Colored troops—for the Union, the second bloodiest battle of the war per number of troops engaged.
|7:00pm||Lecture: St. Augustine Holiday Inn & Suites Historic District—Flagler Room|
|9:00am||Meet at Castillo de San Marcos Visitor Center|
|11:00am||Fountain of Youth|
|1:00pm||Lunch on your own. Drive to Jacksonville.|
|2:30am||Meet at Ft. Caroline|
|4:30pm||Free time and dinner on your own|
|8:30am||Lecture: St. Augustine Holiday Inn & Suites Historic District—Flagler Room|
|11:30am||Lunch on your own. Drive to Olustee|
|2:30pm||Enter Olustee Battlefield|
Note: Times are subject to change.
For your convenience, a block of rooms has been reserved at the Holiday Inn & Suites St. Augustine Historic District. The rooms are reserved at the special rate of $95 per night for double occupancy. This rate includes full breakfast and parking. To receive this special rate, please reserve your room(s) before February 1. For reservations, call 800.315.2621 or 904.494.2100 and mention that you are part of the Landmark Events group.
Conveniently located less than one mile from St. Augustine’s historic district, the Holiday Inn & Suites is in a great location, situated just moments from shopping, dining, and beautiful beaches. Click here for a virtual tour of the hotel.
The hotel will serve as the home base of the tour, with Thursday night and Saturday morning lectures taking place there in the Flagler Room. However, you are welcome to find accommodations elsewhere should you find they suit your family better. St. Augustine offers a variety of accommodations from very economical motels, cute and cozy bed and breakfasts, and full service resorts.
There are no meals included in the tour so you have great flexibility for your family’s dining experience. We have allotted a moderate amount of time for lunch each day and have chosen locations where you are able to bring in your own food, purchase food from the venue, or travel out to lunch. You are welcome to bring your lunch to the mid-day lectures on Friday and Saturday if you choose to combine lunch and instruction! A picnic cloth may come in handy as there are a limited number of tables available.
Touring clothing is up to the individual. It is likely to be warm during the day, (mid 60s), but a sweater or light jacket may be welcome in the evening. The most common attire that we see on these trips is sometimes termed business casual, with casual slacks and sometimes nice shorts with a polo shirt or similar for the men while many of the ladies are in a casual dress or skirt and a blouse. This will be an active trip in terms of walking, therefore good walking shoes are important. These are all merely recommendations and you ultimately need to decide on your wardrobe. Our desire is to communicate charity and respect to those around us by dressing modestly in coverage and fit wherever we are.
You may consider bringing…
- Water bottles
- Notebook and pen
- Portable camp chair
- Hat / Sunglasses / Sunscreen