Sunday, April 25, 2010
History Channel missed the boat on "America: The Story of Us"
This is not particularly Civil War related, but it is of historical interest and definitely affects the national and world perception of Florida history. For all of its promotion and special effects and star commentary, I was extremely disappointed with the first night of The History Channel's new series, "America: The Story of Us."
Let me tell you why. First, as most Floridians know and it seems like few television producers or national historians know, the first permanent European settlement in what is now the continental United States was at St. Augustine. In 1565, Pedro Menendez de Aviles led Spanish settlers and soldiers ashore to establish a fort at a Timucuan Indian village on a tributary of Matanzas Bay. The toe-hold he established in the New World survives and prospers to this day.
Sadly, the producers of "America: The Story of Us" did not seem to consider the Spanish who settled in Florida to be real people. Their struggles and successful establishment of the first city in the continental United States was completely ignored. While I certainly respect and admire the struggles and successes of the settlers who founded Jamestown in 1607 and Plymouth in 1620, don't the early Spanish settlers and soldiers who founded St. Augustine in 1565 deserve at least a mention? After all, they had made homes for themselves in the New World fifty-five full years before the Pilgrims arrived on the Mayflower.
Surely Florida is part of America?
Perhaps the producers and writers who did this show for The History Channel should have taken a history class or two of their own?
To learn more about beautiful and historic old St. Augustine, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/staugustine1.