Sherry Johnson


While documentation is available, historians have not accurately defined the community in St. Augustine after the return of Spanish rule in 1784. Community studies abound for towns in Europe and North America, but community study techniques, which have been so successful in reinterpreting North American colonial history, have been underutilized by Latin American historians. Eighteenth-century St. Augustine presents an opportunity to investigate one frontier settlement and the origins of its inhabitants. However, the point of beginning for any such study must be a definition of the structure of the community itself. Research reveals that St. Augustine resembled other Spanish American cities in more ways than previously believed. The dominant society was represented by the Spanish administration, and was reinforced by Cuban civil servants and returned Floridano families. Minorcans and others who identified with the Minorcan community welcomed the return of Spanish administration, and “foreign” persons who chose to remain under Spanish rule were assimilated into the dominant society.