Source: WTL photograph© June 2008.
This series of images focuses on the Spanish colonial fort Las Matanzas, south of San Agustín / Saint Augustine on Rattlesnake Island. (Matanzas is Spanish for 'killings'.) A Spanish military fort has been on this site since 1565, while the current fortress was constructed in 1740. The Matanzas Inlet is 14 miles south of St. Augustine. It is/was strategically important because the inlet gives access by water (nowadays kayaks: it's a great place to kayak; I know) from the sea to St. Augustine. The first fort was constructed by the Spanish under Menéndez de Avilés following the massacre here of the French Huguenots who had escaped (i.e., were blown) in a violent storm (hurricane?) from their settlement on the St. John's River (now in the city of Jacksonville): these French survivors were actually trying to sail back to France. (See, also, the photographic essay on Fort La Caroline: =>).