Fort Mose

Used with permission of Georgia Studies Images

Fort Mose
(pronounced "Moh- say")

Established near St. Augustine in 1738, Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose was the first legally sanctioned community of former slaves.

"More than 250 years ago, African born slaves risked their lives to escape English plantations in Carolina and find freedom among the Spanish living at St. Augustine."
They battled slave catchers and dangerous swamps. Withe the aid of Indian allies runaways were moved southward, rather than to the north. The Spanish freed the fugitives in return for their service to the King and their conversion to the Catholic faith. Among the runaways were many skilled laborers, and they were welcome additions to St. Augustine's weak military forces. The Spanish governor established runaways in their own fortified town, Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose, about two miles north of St. Augustine, Florida.

" The men and women of Mose won their liberty through great daring and effort and made important contributions to Florida's multi-ethic heritage."

Two free black militia members.
Between 1770 abd 1776. Black & white photonegative, 4 x 5 in. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. ,
accessed 26 March 2017.

The runaways were a diverse group, many different cultures and tribes. They lived in palm thatch huts, they attended a wood church, farmed the land and men stood guard and patrolled the frontier. They fought bravely with the Spainards against their former masters in 1740 and again in the counter-offence against Georgia two years later.
". In the first season's excavation archaeologists uncovered the remains of the fort itself, with its moat, clay-covered earth walls and wooden buildings inside the fort. They also found a wide variety of military items such as gunflints, flattened bullets, metal buckles and hardware; household items such as thimbles, nails, ceramics, and glass bottles; food items such as burned seeds and bone, and even a hand-made St. Christopher's medal."

Used with permission under Creative Commons
Photograph author: Bill Frazzetto
(For larger view CLICK HERE)

Ft. Mose was named as a National Historic Landmark in 1995, and is an important element in Florida's Black Heritage Trail.

The above info is from: Historical Archaeology at the Florida Museum of Natural History

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