The Spanish Main... A name that evokes the long ago days of buccaneering pirates and Spanish Conquistadors, palm trees and buried treasure. Geographically, it was the mainland portion of Spain's empire in the New World, encircling the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. It included the coastlines of Texas, Mexico, Central America and the northern coast of South America, as well as the land known as La Florida. Gold and spice-laden ships from the Caribbean had to pass Florida on their way to Spain, making them tempting targets for privateers and enemy navies. To protect their shipping routes and land claims in North America, the Spanish built what remains today as the oldest stone fort in the oldest city in the United States: Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, Florida.
|An historic aerial photo of Castillo de San Marcos. Photo: NPS.|