Robert L. Gold


Ten months were required to complete the evacuation of the Spanish population from the St. Augustine presidio. From April 12, 1763, to January 21, 1764, a junta of Governor Melchor Feliu, Don Juan Elixio de la Puente, and Esteban de Pena carefully escorted 3,103 persons to wafting vessels bound for Cuba or New Spain. The evacuees embarked for Havana, Cuba, except for thirty-four people who were later transported to San Francisco de Campeche, New Spain. During the entire movement there were only four casualties from the shipwreck of the sloop “Nuestra Senora del Rosario.” By April 16, 1764, former Governor Melchor Feliu and Don Juan Elixio de la Puente reported that a total of 3,091 residents of the old colonial garrison had departed from the Plaza of St. Augustine, Fort San Marcos de Apalache, and the towns Nuestra Senora de la Leche, Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe de Tolomato, and Santa Terese de Gracia Real de Mosa. Whenever possible rank and class distinctions were honored in the embarkation; Indians and free mulattoes and Negroes were often segregated from the Spaniards, but Spanish Canary Island settlers were also shipped apart from the other Spanish residents.