Fort Matanzas played an important role in St Augustine Florida History in that it was built to protect the rear entrance to the city located along the Matanzas River. It was here at this access point to the city that British General, James Oglethorpe of Georgia set up a blockade in the Matanzas Inlet and proceeded to launch his 39 day attack in 1740. Oglethorpe was a smart navigator and knew that by entering the city along the Matanzas River he could avoid the city’s main defense at the Castillo de San Marcos. After this terrible moment in Old City history, the Spanish realized the need to protect this region of St Augustine and the Matanzas Inlet, and construction began on a new fort, just minutes away from the other famous fort.
Convicts and slaves from Cuba were used to construct Fort Matanzas which was situated on the banks of Rattlesnake Island, a barrier island located in the salt marsh along the Matanzas Inlet. Made out of coquina rock, a common type of shellstone in the region, Fort Matanzas is 50 feet long and features a 30 foot tower to the side. Equipped with five cannons, four six pound cannons and one 18 pound cannon, troops were able to test Fort Matanzas’s strength even before its construction was completed. In 1742 as construction was nearing completion, Oglethorpe and his British forces again entered the inlet, this time with 12 ships. Cannons fired on the small boats and all 12 warships left the Matanzas Inlet without troops even having to defend the fort on land. This very short skirmish was the only time that Fort Matanzas fired on an enemy.
Throughout its long History, the Fort Matanzas sat regally along the banks of the Matanzas Inlet. It saw the 1763 events of the first Treaty of Paris and the second Treaty of Paris twenty years later, which returned control of Florida to Spain; and it deteriorated, along with the Spanish Empire during the decades before the United States took control of Florida. After the United States took control of Florida in 1819, Fort Matanzas sat in ruin for almost one hundred years. In 1916, restoration work began and in 1924 Fort Matanzas was declared a National Monument. In 1933 the park was transferred from the military to the National Park Service, and since then the 100 acres of salt marsh and barrier islands along the Matanzas River, as well as the majestic St Augustine Fort, have remained preserved and conserved.
Fort Matanzas is only accessible by guided ferry Boat Tours. Once you get to the island, visitors can explore the fort, its visitor’s center and enjoy the numerous hiking and walking trails that meander throughout the park. Fishing is also allowed at Fort Matanzas, and you can fish for mullet, redfish, flounder and a variety of other types of predator marsh fish. Do not pass up this opportunity to enjoy this and the other great attractions nearby to our Bed and Breakfasts.
Learn more about fun Florida Getaways to St Augustine. This vibrant, historical city is filled with unique Things to Do and offers quite bit of romance and mystery. Each and every Bed and Breakfast has its own unique charm and offers all of the comforts and spectacular amenities that you desire in your home away from home. Enjoy a phenomenal Vacation and stay in one of our beautiful inns.