John J. TePaske


The drab social life of early eighteenth-century St. Augustine contrasted sharply with the glitter and pomp of life in the viceregal centers of New Spain and Peru. Amusements, which gave pleasure to the people of Mexico City and Lima, were unknown in this fringe outpost of the Spanish Empire in America. The soldiers of the Castillo de San Marcos and their wives and children had little opportunity to enjoy plays, operas, tournaments of poetasters, bull fights, cock fights, horse racing, parades, mock jousts, or the joyous recibimiento. Even the dubious pleasures to be obtained from the inquisitorial auto de fe were denied them. Floridians had to be content with the common amusements and pleasures. St. Augustine was a harsh, out-of-the way frontier area, where life was seldom lightened by the amenities or diversions common in the more populous centers of the empire.