Though Florida had been discovered by Ponce de Leon in 1513, not until 1565 did it become a Spanish province in fact. In that year Pedro Menendez de Aviles was able to establish a permanent capital which he called St. Augustine. Menendez and successive executives had plans to make St. Augustine a thriving metropolis ruling over a vast Spanish colony that might possibly be elevated to a viceroyalty. Nothing of this sort happened. By 1599 Florida was in desperate straits: Indians had rebelled and butchered the Franciscan missionaries, fire and flood had made life in St. Augustine miserable, English pirates of such fame as Drake had ransacked the town, local jealousies made life unpleasant. Spain threatened to dismantle St. Augustine. The viceroyal dreams were rapidly vanishing and to maintain the status quo was now the greatest ambition in order to preserve the very existence of Spanish Florida.
Arnade, Charles W.
"The English Invasion of Spanish Florida, 1700-1706,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 41
, Article 7.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol41/iss1/7