St. Augustine was founded in 1565 by Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, it is the oldest continuously occupied European-established city and port in the continental United States.
St. Augustine was first explored in 1513 by Spanish explorer and governor of Puerto Rico, Ponce de Leon, who claimed the region for the Spanish crown. Prior to the founding of St. Augustine in 1565, several earlier attempts at European colonization in what is now Florida were made by both Spain and France, but all failed.
Pedro Menéndez de Avilés sighted land on August 28, 1565. As this was the feast day of Augustine of Hippo, the territory was named San Agustín. The Spanish sailed through St. Augustine inlet into Matanzas Bay and disembarked near the Timucua town of Seloy on September 7. Menéndez’s goal was to dig a quick fortification to protect his people and supplies as they were unloaded from the ships, and then to take a more proper survey of the area to determine the best location for the fort.
The 1565 founding of San Agustín (St. Augustine) makes this city the first permanent European settlement in what would later become the continental United States. In 1566, Martín de Argüelles was born in San Agustín, the first European child who was recorded as born in the continental United States.
Since, the city has been under the governments of Spain, 1565 to 1763 and 1784-1821; Britain, 1763-1784, and United States, 1821-present. Florida became a state in 1845. It was part of the Confederacy from 1861-1862 when it returned to Union control.