1500’s

1513

Juan Ponce de León arrives at Easter time in a new land that he christens Pascua Florida – Easter of the Flowers.

1521

Ponce de León returns with diocesan priests and missionaries of religious orders.

1539

Hernando de Soto lands near Tampa, bringing with him eight secular priests and four Dominican friars, who would all die on the expedition.

1549

Dominican Father Louis Cancer de Barbastro arrives in Tampa Bay, where Native Americans beat him to death.

1559

Don Tristan de Luna arrives in Pensacola Bay with an expedition of 500 soldiers, 1,000 colonists and six Dominican friars.

1565

Don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés sails from Spain, accompanied by several diocesan priests. The Saint Augustine Parish is established, later to become Cathedral Parish. It is America’s first Catholic parish.

1566

First Jesuits arrive, and within months Father Pedro Martinez is martyred.

1572

St. Augustine first parish church is built south of the Plaza: Nuestra Señora de los Remedios (Our Lady of Remedies).

1573


Franciscans arrive to establish missions. In almost 100 years, they built 38 missions across the colony, working with 11 tribes.

1586

Sir Francis Drake of England raids all of St. Augustine.

1587

Mission Nombre de Dios is established at site of First Mass.

1594

Parish records begin on Jan. 24 with the first marriage recorded on Feb. 2 and a baptism recorded on June 25. They are the oldest surviving documents in North America (north of Mexico).

1597

First hospital in today’s Continental United States established in St. Augustine as Nuestra Señora de la Soledad (Our Lady of Solitude).

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