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Our visit to Timucuan National Park in Jax, FL is unique in that it’s the only park we’ve sacrificed a bumper and a tailgate to see. Yep, I got rear ended on our way to there. It was the most interesting part of our day, actually.
It happened in August, and if you frequent Facebook, you heard all about it. My neck and bumper have now healed, and I’m finally emotionally well enough to write about the experience.
Actually, I completely forgot that we’d visited National Park #19 on the Gardner List of Fun. Then I cleaned off my “desk” (a.k.a. the breakfast room counter) and found the park brochure.
Even though it’s been almost three months, I HAVE to write about it. National Parks being my cuppa, there was just no getting around it.
Sooo…what cool things can I tell you about the place?
Well, the only thing that really stands out is that I walked through it with my sweet sis and her kiddos, and it’s safe to say the reason I’m foggy on the details is that I’d just been attacked by an SUV.
But I’m not emotionally scarred. I promise.
I did have enough presence of mind to grab a brochure from the visitor’s center, so I’ve done a little reading up. Come to find out, Timucuan NP has some pretty rich history. The, this-should-be-a-in-a-book kinda history.
The first inhabitants were—big shock—the Timucua natives. They populated the Jacksonville area in the tens of thousands, but in 1698, there were only 550 left. Little is known about them, and today, no known indigenous people call themselves Timucua. Sad.
|The kids at a reproduction Timucua shelter|
Next on the timeline are the French. In 1564 a guy named Laudonniere established the first French colony in what is now the US. They called their triangular fort “Fort de la Caroline” after King Charles IX. The Spaniards viewed the Huguenot Frenchmen as heretics and thus trespassers on Spanish-claimed lands. In 1565, the Spanish captured the fort and massacred most of its defenders. “La Florida” would remain Spanish for another 200 years.
|Reproduction gate to Fort Caroline|
|It's a tiny fort and except for a slight imprint in the soil, there's not much left|
In fact, my novel Warring Spirits tells of the beginning of the end of Spanish Florida. You can learn about it HERE. If you haven’t read it and love a good romance, this is my shameless plug for you to buy it. :-) It’s available in paperback, Kindle, and Nook.
The bloody battle of Fort Caroline marked the first time European nations fought for control of lands on what’s now US soil. Needless to say, it was the first of many!
The history of Timucua continues, but we only visited the fort. Maybe one day, we’ll go back and visit Kingsley Plantation.
Until then, happy National Parking, my friends.
Pop quiz! --What is the oldest city in the United States?
Other pics from Fort Caroline...
|The St. Johns River. |
I know someone who learned to water ski on this river. ;-)
|Spanish moss. LOVE.|
|More of the inside of the fort.|