Link to National Park Service website
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with the National Register of Historic Places, National Park Service

[graphic text] Ascending to New Heights

Aerial view of star-shaped Castillo de San Marcos
NPS Photo

Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest existing permanent seacoast fortification in the continental United States. The remains of this fort serve as an outstanding reminder of the importance of the early Spanish empire in the New World. Built between 1672 and 1695, Castillo de San Marcos was the northernmost outpost of the Spanish Empire. The fort provided protection for St. Augustine, the first permanent European settlement in the continental United States, and also protected the sea route for treasure ships returning to Spain. The star-shaped fort, surrounding moat, and earthworks replaced an earlier series of earth and wood fortifications.

A drawbridge connects the main fortress to the ravelin, the massive defensework on the right
NPS Photo
Although the Castillo was a focus of the struggle between Great Britain and Spain for regional supremacy during the 17th and 18th centuries, it has never been taken by military force. During the 18th century, the Castillo went from Spanish control to British and back to the Spanish, all by treaty. The Spanish remained in power in Florida until the area was purchased by the United States in 1821. Called Fort Marion at this time, the Castillo was used by the US army until 1899. The fort was last employed for defensive purposes in 1898 during the Spanish-American War. The Castillo was made a National Monument in 1924 and became part of the National Park system in 1933.

Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, administered by the National Park Service, is located in St. Augustine, Florida. It is open daily 8:45am to 4:45pm. For further information call 904-829-6506 or visit the park's website, which contains additional information on the fort's history, a virtual tour and features montly historical biographies. Castillo de San Marcos National Monumnet is also featured in our Along the Georgia-Florida Coast travel itinerary.

Guadalupe Center | Trujillo Homestead | Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
Hispanic Heritage Home | NR HOME

Comments or Questions
Privacy & Disclaimer
Site optimized for V4.0
& above browsers

NPS Links to the Past