Fort Mose in St. Augustine is the site of the first legally sanctioned free African American settlement. While the fort itself no longer stands, the site it stood on still feels full of the groundbreaking history that was made there. In 1738, the Spanish governor of Florida chartered the settlement of Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mosa, or Fort Mose. This was the very first of its kind, because it was built specifically for those people fleeing slavery from the English colonies in the Carolinas. The 1740 Spanish victory at the Battle of Bloody Mose is reenacted annually in St. Augustine. This was the 277th anniversary of the battle, and the event was presented by Florida Living History, Inc., and the Fort Mose Historical Society from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 15, 2019, at Fort Mose, just north of historic St. Augustine. Visitors could participate in the commemoration of the battle and enjoy reenactments of the 1740 battle that forced the British to retreat from Spanish Florida. Reenactments of the battle itself took place at 12:00 noon and at 2:00 p.m. Other activities occurred throughout the day, with musket demonstrations and colonial Florida craft-making stations, including blacksmithing, 18th-century foods, finger weaving, and pine needle basket weaving. There were also a variety of free children’s activities, plus food and craft vendors. Before and after the battle, visitors could enjoy interacting with volunteers in period dress while they step back in time and experience what it was like on the fateful day before the big battle between the British, who were occupying Fort Mose, and the Spanish from the Castillo. Scenes include Yamassee natives preparing for battle, British soldiers planning the surprise attack of the Castillo de San Marcos, and British General Oglethorpe and his forces encamped at Fort Mose.

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