Pirates, Presidents, Conquistadors and More Tour 20162017-09-21T14:01:50+00:00

Event Summary

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 on site of the Castillo de San Marcos in 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 Civil War reenactments 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.


St. Augustine Pirate Museum


St. Augustine Pirate Museum


Castillo de San Marcos


Castillo de San Marcos


Battle of Olustee Reenactment


Battle of Olustee Reenactment


Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park


Historian Bill Potter


Rich Christian Fellowship

Ticket Information

Included in This Tour

  • All venue admissions
  • All guide fees and gratuities
  • Two audio recordings to listen en route: Introduction to Fort Caroline and Introduction to Olustee
  • Individual electronic headsets for listening convenience
  • Friday evening pizza and salad dinner/discussion
  • Access to Landmark Events’ special discounted hotel rates
  • Breakfast included for guests of Holiday Inn Express and Suites
  • Study Preparation section

Ticket Pricing Information

Youth (5-16):$85
Adult (17+):$99
Family (4 members):$333
Additional Family Members:$59

If you have any questions, or if we can be of service in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Tour Highlights

Join Us in Sunny Florida!

 

By 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.


Ponce de Leon


Castillo de San Marcos

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.


St. Augustine Pirate Museum


St. Augustine Pirate Museum

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 on site of the Castillo de San Marcos in 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 Civil War reenactments 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.


Battle of Olustee Reenactment


Battle of Olustee Reenactment

Event Speakers

Historian Bill Potter

An experienced historian and avid bibliophile, Bill Potter combines a lifelong study of American history with an uncommon ability to captivate audiences of all ages as he traces the providential acts of God throughout the ages. Mr. Potter has taught history in high schools and colleges, has led many tours of American and European historical sites and brings to each event a wealth of experience and knowledge. An experienced researcher and writer, Mr. Potter possesses a practical knowledge of antiquarian books, documents, and artifacts and has published several short books and has penned many articles and book reviews for publication. Bill has earned a well-deserved reputation as a man gifted in communicating the story of God’s providential hand in American history. As a father of eight children, he appreciates the necessity of passing on to the succeeding generations the richness of both our regional and national history. He and his wife, Leslie, reside in Virginia.

Historian Bill Potter

Event Schedule

Thursday, February 11
7:00pm Welcome Reception (light snacks served with iced tea and water)
Holiday Inn Express & Suites St. Augustine North
2300 State Road 16
St. Augustine, Florida 32084
Friday, February 12
  7 miles ≈ 15 mins.
9:00am Castillo de San Marcos (meet outside ticket kiosk)
1 South Castillo Drive, St. Augustine, FL 32084
  1 mile ≈ 5 mins.
11:00am Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park
11 Magnolia Avenue, St. Augustine, FL 32084
(Fountain of Youth has a nice picnic area if you want to bring your lunch on Friday. They also have a small snack bar on site or you can get something en route to Jacksonville. No food is available at Ft. Caroline.)
1:00pm Lunch on your own. Picnic or order from grill at Fountain of Youth.
Listen to ‘Introduction to Fort Caroline’

 

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  40 miles ≈ 50 mins.
2:30pm Fort Caroline National Memorial (meet at visitors center)
12713 Fort Caroline Road, Jacksonville, FL 32225
  40 miles ≈ 50 mins.
6:30pm Optional pitch-in Pizza & Salad Dinner with discussion and fellowship following at Holiday Inn Suites ($4 per person)
Saturday, February 13
8:30am Morning Lecture
Holiday Inn Express & Suites St. Augustine North
2300 State Road 16
St. Augustine, Florida 32084
  7 miles ≈ 15 mins.
10:00am St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum
12 South Castillo Drive, St. Augustine, FL 32084
1:00pm Lunch on your own. Picnic or order from food vendors at Olustee Reenactment.
Listen to ‘Introduction to Olustee’

 

Your browser does not support the audio element.
  

  85 miles ≈ 90 mins.
2:30pm Enter Olustee Battlefield
(reenactment requires a shuttle from parking area (Baker Correctional Facility) to main entrance—1 mile.)
3:30pm Battlefield reenactment
20706 US 90, Sanderson FL 32807
(1 mile west of Baker Correctional Institution)

Note: Times are subject to change.

Other Considerations

Meals

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.

Clothing

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. This will be an active trip in terms of walking, therefore good walking shoes are important.

You may consider bringing…

  • Water bottles
  • Notebook and pen
  • Portable camp chair
  • Umbrella
  • Hat / Sunglasses / Sunscreen

Accommodations

For your convenience, Landmark Events will has secured a block of rooms at the:Holiday Inn Express & Suites St. Augustine North
2300 State Road 16
St. Augustine, Florida 32084

Book online or call: 877-859-5095 or 904-824-5151

Request the Landmark Events rate of $109 for a room with 2 queen beds and breakfast. There is also a limited number of rooms with 2 queen beds and a pullout sofa for a slightly higher rate. Wi-Fi and parking are free. Make your reservations by January 29 to secure this special rate.

The Thursday evening Welcome Reception will be held in the meeting room of the Holiday Inn Express & Suites, as will the Friday evening meal/fellowship and the Saturday morning lecture.

Please note: Our choice of hotels is limited to properties that have a meeting space adequate to accommodate our group. However, guests are free to stay wherever best meets their facility needs and budget.

Study Preparation

The historic works connected with the subjects we will teach and discuss is vast and impossible to cover in a few or even short books. Nonetheless, there are some books that will be helpful in both the short and long run for study of the historical artifacts of our tour, both intellectual and material. As usual, there is much on the internet that is very helpful for learning about the actual monuments and memorials we will visit, but their meaning, purpose, and relevance is at the real heart of our tour.

Key People

King Ferdinand & Queen Isabella

Christopher Columbus

Ponce de León

Hernando de Soto

Admiral Gaspard II de Coligny

Jean Ribault

Pedro Menendez de Aviles

Edward Teach

Sir Francis Drake

General Andrew Jackson

Chief Osceola

General Truman Seymour

General Joseph Finegan

Key Issues and Topics

Spanish Empire

Conquistadors: Missionaries or Murderers?

Huguenots and the French Reformation

Fountain of Youth (man’s constant search for immortality)

Motivations for Exploration: God, Gold, and Glory

Differences in Colonization Theory: English, French, Spanish

Role of Piracy in Atlantic Coastal history

Piracy in the Cinema: Romantic Misfits?

A Biblical Analysis of Piracy vs. Letters of Marque/Raiding the Spanish Main

Florida’s Strategic Role in the Civil War

Bibliography / Recommended Reading List

Pirates, Puritans, and the Perils of the High Seas, by Captain Charles Johnson and Puritan John Flavel, Edited by R. A. Sheats

Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates, by David Cordingly

Spain in America, by Charles Gibson

Londonniere & Fort Caroline, by Charles E. Bennett

Knights of Spain, Warriors of the Sun, by Charles Hudson

Confederate Florida: The Road to Olustee, by William H. Nulty

Upcoming Events

Civil War in the West Tour
March 27-28, 2019

2019 Scotland Adventure
July 7-13 & 14-20, 2019