When we think about the earliest European settlements in the New World, the early English settlers of Jamestown, Virginia, and the Puritans in Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts, come to mind. But neither of those was the first settlement on the shores of North America. The oldest city in America is St. Augustine, Florida.
This video explores the fascinating story of St. Augustine and how it came to be settled by the Spanish 42 years before the first permanent English settlement at Jamestown and 55 years before the Puritans landed at Plymouth Rock. It is the story of the Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon, who landed in what is now Florida in 1513, and his search for riches in North America. Christopher Columbus’ earlier route to the New World was a southerly one that took him to the West Indies. Explorers who came after him, and there were many from various European nations, followed his route
and entered North America via the sandy shores of Florida.
It is also the story of international struggles among European powers for footholds in the New World. The colonization of North America was very closely tied to wars and other events happening in Europe. This program examines the settling of North America from an international perspective, explaining how and why, for example, the Spanish became the principal colonizers of "La Florida," rather than the French or English. A number of educators from some of America’s finest universities share their insights about the important events that playlishment of the first settlement in North America.