Historic Markers Across Florida

The Minorcan Heritage

Marker ID:  
Location: on historic St. George Street in St. Augustine, FL
County: St. Johns
Coordinates: N 29° 53.787    W 081° 18.797
  29.89645    -81.31328333
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: WM7E2Y


The Minorcans, some 1,300 people of Mediterranean origins, were brought to Florida in 1768 as contract employees to farm a large indigo plantation at New Smyrna, 70 miles south of St. Augustine. Though most came from the island of Minorca off the eastern coast of Spain, their number included others from Greece, Sicily and Italy.
Death and hardship became their lot and after nine years they abandoned the New Smyrna community. Granted sanctuary by British authorities in St. Augustine, those able walked the long, weary miles northward in the hot summer of 1777.
Here they settled on land south of the Castillo de San Marcos. Some engaged themselves as tradesmen, others took up farming and many fished in the bountiful waters. This area became home to generations of Minorcans to follow.
When Spain regained Florida in 1784, the Minorcans cast their fortunes with the new regime and stayed in St. Augustine when Florida joined the United States in 1821. Gradually they lost their native languages, but even today the special foods and traditional religious celebrations the Minorcans brought with them remain a colorful part of the city´s heritage.
"They came here, they toiled here, they suffered many pains, they lived here, they died here, they left singing names." Stephen Vincent Benet (Minorcan descendent)

Sponsored by: City of St. Augustine


City: St. Augustine, FL