Directory / Historical St. Augustine

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine

The city of St. Augustine was founded and established in 1565 by Don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés. He began his adventure by sailing from the port of Cádiz, Spain. On August 28 of that year his expedition first sighted land along the east coast of Florida (the area that is today Cape Canaveral). It was the feast day of Saint Augustine of Hippo. Menéndez decided to give that saint’s name to his first settlement. He continued sailing north along the coast, eventually coming to the harbor of a native tribe of the Timucuan nation. Some of Menéndez’s party landed on September 6 with Menéndez himself landing on September 8, the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Upon coming ashore, Menéndez was presented a cross to kiss by Father López de Mendoza Grajales as the hymn Te Deum Laudamus was sung. The celebration of a Mass followed immediately, and thus began the story of the establishment of the oldest permanently occupied European settlement in what is now the United States of America, and, at the same time, the beginnings of what would be the Cathedral Parish.

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