With great anticipation, more than twelve hundred settlers--the majority from the Mediterranean island of Minorca--arrived on the eastern shore of Florida, south of St. Augustine, in 1768 to begin a new life at the colony of New Smyrna. Despite the initial successes of the colony, political strife and inadequate financing steered the colonists into dire straights. Fleeing the miserable living conditions and ruthless maltreatment of colony overseers, the colonists eventually sought refuge in St. Augustine, where the governor granted them asylum in 1777.
For more than two hundred years the descendants of the surviving colonists have formed a resourceful and talented portion of St. Augustine's population. From the six hundred plus that made the walk from New Smyrna, there are now over fifteen thousand descendants living in the St. Augustine area today. This book reveals the history of these fascinating people for the first time.