The Mantanzas River was named for all of the killing that had occurred here in 1565. In Spanish, mantanzas means slaughters. At the mouth of this river the Spanish from St. Augustine slaughtered the French from Fort Caroline twice. It was Spain’s move in establishing a colony in Florida. Almost two hundred years later Fort Matanzas was constructed from 1740-1742. When the Spanish were blockaded in Castillo de San Marcos by the British, a few Spanish vessels managed to break through the Mantanas Inlet and bring supplies. The Spanish wanted to prevent this from ever happening again. To prevent the British from controlling the inlet and starving St. Augustine, carpenters and mason began constructing Fort Mantanzas with labor supplied by convicts, slaves and troops from Cuba. This fort is also constructed of coquina. It is built on an island. Soldiers were stationed here a month at a time. Usually about six men at a time. In 1742,when the fort was almost complete, the British arrived at the inlet with 12 ships. The forts cannons drove them off. The fort did its job and never fired its guns again in battle.
We visited Fort Mantanzas the same days as Castillo de San Marcos. Marcus and Cali picked up Junior Ranger Programs and completed them on the short boat ride to the fort. The fort only had two rooms. We climbed up the ladder to the observation deck. It was an interesting little fort and I am glad we took the time to drive the 14 miles south from St. Augustine. We stayed at St. John’s RV while visiting the area and used out Passport America discount.