Friday, August 20, 2010

Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose

In North American slavery days, many in bondage managed to escape and run for their lives. But where to go, how to live in a world so brutally contested? Archaeological evidence in North Carolina suggests the creation of maroon / cimarrón camps or mini-colonies such as at Culpepper Island in the Great Dismal Swamp and in many other remote or semi-remote places, as well. Where feasible, slaves also sought asylum with Native American tribes, who often took them in as tributary auxiliaries.

In Florida beginning officially in 1693, Spanish authorities offered official freedman status to runaway slaves from Anglo North America in exchange for fealty to the Spanish crown, adoption of Catholicism and service in the territorial militia.

Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose (Fort Mose / Mosé) was a freedman's fort and community located a couple miles north of Saint Augustine, Florida; it was completed in 1738 and commanded by a self-freed Creole, Francisco Menendez, who'd earlier escaped from South Carolina. 

When Anglo-American forces from Georgia descended on the area during the War of Jenkins' Ear in 1740, Menendez and his Spanish backers were ready for a fight. (To be continued)

Today's Rune: Partnership.  

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