Menéndez De Avilés, Pedro, Colonization Efforts of
MENÉNDEZ DE AVILÉS, PEDRO, COLONIZATION EFFORTS OF
MENÉNDEZ DE AVILÉS, PEDRO, COLONIZATION EFFORTS OF. Pedro Menéndez de Avilés (1519–1574) was a mariner, explorer, colonizer, and governor of Florida. A prominent defender of Spain against French privateers in Europe, he served as captain general of the Indies fleet in 1554, 1560, and 1561.
In 1565, Menéndez contracted with King Phillip II to colonize and explore La Florida, which as conceived by Spain at that time, extended from the Florida Panhandle to Newfoundland. Pressured by French Huguenot fort-building in present-day Florida, the Spanish felt it imperative to quickly establish a settlement in the territory. In addition to expelling the French from their fort on the Saint John's River, Menéndez's objectives were to explore, to found settlements, to find a passage to the Pacific, and to convert the native peoples. He was to accomplish these goals at his own expense, with some royal troops provided by King Phillip.
Menéndez led his party of eight hundred soldiers, sailors, and settlers, including the wives and children of twenty-six of his men, to Saint Augustine in 1565. He claimed Florida for Spain on 8 September. After securing a place for the settlers in a Timucuan Indian village, Menéndez set out with his soldiers to attack the French fort, which he conquered on 20 September. After finishing off the French forces at Matanzas Inlet, he addressed his other objectives.
In 1565, Menéndez reconnoitered the east coast of Florida, preparing for the establishment of outposts, and then sailed to Cuba for supplies. In early 1566 he explored the southwestern coast of Florida. During these journeys, he discovered currents and channels that eased navigation for the Spanish fleets. Upon his return to Saint Augustine in 1566, he had to put down a mutiny among his troops before he could continue carrying out his plans. Later, he sent out expeditionary parties to roam the interior, map the coastline, and find a passage to the Pacific. He founded a number of garrison settlements in southern Florida and a promising settlement at Santa Elena in what became South Carolina.
In 1565 the first Catholic mission, Nombre de Dios, was established at Saint Augustine. Menéndez set up a tribute system whereby the local Indians would supply the colonists with corn, skins, pottery, and labor. Many of the men married Indian women and formed a new society based on Indian and Spanish culture. By the end of the sixteenth century, Saint Augustine had become a city based on Spanish planning principles. It did not, however, become economically self-sufficient during Menéndez's rule. Life for the colonists was one of privation and hardship. Its main purpose was military—to protect the Spanish treasure fleets as they sailed up the coast in the Gulf Stream.
Eventually, Indian resistance led Menéndez to give up Spanish outposts in southern Florida. After 1569 he focused on the development of Santa Elena, but soon exhausted his personal resources. Upon receiving a royal subsidy in 1570, he brought his family from Spain to Santa Elena. Menéndez intended to build an estate, but this plan was interrupted in 1574, when he was called home to help quell a rebellion in the Spanish Netherlands. As he was gathering his forces in Santander, Spain, he became ill with a fever and died.
Menéndez was always more interested in exploration than colonization, but his most important accomplishment was the founding of Saint Augustine, the first continuous European settlement in what became the United States. Although Saint Augustine never flourished under Menéndez's rule, it survived.
Manucy, Albert. Menéndez: Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, Captain General of the Ocean Sea. Sarasota, Fla.: Pineapple Press, 1992.
Milanich, Jerald T., and Susan Milbrath, eds. First Encounters: Spanish Explorations in the Caribbean and the United States, 1492–1570. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1991.
"Menéndez De Avilés, Pedro, Colonization Efforts of." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 Feb. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.
"Menéndez De Avilés, Pedro, Colonization Efforts of." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 24, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/menendez-de-aviles-pedro-colonization-efforts
"Menéndez De Avilés, Pedro, Colonization Efforts of." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved February 24, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/menendez-de-aviles-pedro-colonization-efforts
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.