Primary sources are the "eyewitnesses" of history. The extracts presented here help to bring Florida's colonial past to life. At the request of Spanish and Latin teachers, we've included some texts in those languages. All materials are formatted to be easily downloaded and printed for classroom use.
See Maps for other Primary Resources and
Readings for additional material, including coloring art for younger students.
Additional primary sources and other readings are available from the Florida History & Heritage Collections.
- Le Moyne's Illustrated Florida (1564) (English translation)
- Pedro Menéndez de Avilés writes to the King of Spain
(September 11, 1565)
- The Story of Jonathan Dickinson: Surviving a Shipwreck (1696)
What was it like to travel in Florida in 1696, among the Jobe and Ais Indians? What did St. Augustine look like at this time? These extracts tell the story.
- English and Spanish accounts of the Battle of Fort Mose (1740)
In 1740 Governor James Oglethorpe of Georgia tried to capture the town of St. Augustine. His troops seized the free black settlement of Fort Mose, but the Spanish counterattacked. Here are two different first-hand accounts of the events—one from the Spanish side, one from the English side. Historians have to evaluate what people in the past said. Who do you think came closer to telling the truth? Can we really arrive at “the truth” about the past? Additional materials on Oglethorpe's attack can be found in "Maps" and "Readings."
- The Rules for Schools (St. Augustine, 1786)
See what it was like to attend a boys' school in St. Augustine in the eighteenth century. This selection contains regulations for faculty and pupils that modern day students might find amusing.
- Runaway Slave Notices (1780s and 1790s)
Even in the 1790s, slaves from the American South continued to flee into Florida, hoping to win liberty under the Spanish. Ask students what they can tell about life under slavery from these notices.
- Sample Manumission: The Manumission of Anna Kingsley
Anna Kingsley became one of Florida's most prominent free women of color. Here is the notice freeing her.
- See also the National Park Service lesson plan located online at NPS Education Guide and an online biography by Kathy Tilford
- A Fromajadis, or traditional Easter serenade
The lyrics from a fromajadis, or traditional serenade, sung on the night before Easter Sunday among the Minorcans of St. Augustine. (Spanish - Recurso Español)