Four hundred and fifty-one years ago, on September 16, 1565, Admiral Don Bartolomé Menéndez de Avilés, Don Pedro’s older brother and San Agustín’s first mayor, mustered the first militia troops in the continental United States to defend the newly founded Spanish pueblo of San Agustín de la Florida (present-day St. Augustine, FL) against pending attack by the French.
On Friday, September 16th, 2016, Florida Living History, Inc. ( www.floridalivinghistory.org ), in partnership with the Florida National Guard ( www.floridaguard.army.mil/ ) and Florida Department of Military Affairs, commemorated the 451st anniversary of the first mustering of America’s original citizen-soldiers and the 451st “birthday” of the National Guard of the United States.
This year’s heritage Event will took be place on the 451st anniversary – to the very day – of the first muster of America’s first militia in September 1565!
In conjunction with National Hispanic Heritage Month, the First Muster heritage Event took place at 4PM on the parade ground in front of the Florida National Guard’s headquarters in the St. Francis Barracks, at 82 Marine St., in St. Augustine, Florida. The speaker at this year’s Event was the Honorable Adam Putnam, Florida State Commissioner. Admission to this heritage Event and to the St. Francis Barracks Museum was free.
This year’s Event was the seventh to commemorate that initial muster of America’s first militia, the “ancestor” of today’s Florida National Guard. Florida Living History, Inc., was invited to provide living-historians dressed in the garb, and bearing the weapons, of the 16th-century, Spanish citizen-soldiers who formed America’s first militia, as well as to discuss and demonstrate the military arts of the period.