The Oldest City in the U.S. – St. Augustine, Florida

By | November 22, 2018

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St. Augustine, Castillo de San Marcos. Source: (Photo by Wojtek BUSS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

The oldest continuously occupied city in the United States? Nope, it’s not Plymouth or Jamestown or Boston. It’s St. Augustine, Florida. The city was founded on September 8, 1565, a full 55 years before the Pilgrims set foot on Plymouth Rock and 211 years before the colonists declared their independence from the British. Yet most elementary school textbooks neglect to mention that the Spanish were firmly established in St. Augustine before the English settled in New England. Let’s look at the unique history of the oldest city in the United States. 

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Admiral Pedro Menendez de Aviles. Source: (

A Spanish Admiral and Crew Settled Near a Native American Village

When Admiral Pedro Menendez de Aviles and his diverse crew of more than 800 came ashore in 1565, they found a large Native American settlement in the coastal marshlands of Florida. In fact, the Native American village of Seloy, occupied by the Timucua people, had lived in the area for at least the past 500 years. They established a well-organized community that hunted, fished, and did small-scale farming. Menendez and his group set up camp nearby.