tv Castillo de San Marcos CSPAN July 2, 2015 1:55am-2:11am EDT
thursday, american history tv in prirmt continues with a look at the declaration of independence. panelists will explore the text and the national archives work to preserve the original document. the national archives and the institute of advanced study hosted a forum with archivists, historians and rare document collectors. the declaration of independence thursday at 8:00 p.m. eastern here on cnn-span3's american history tv. >> the c-span cities tour partnering with our cable affiliates traveling across the united states, join us and cox communications this weekend as we learn about the history and literary life of omaha nebraska, where one of america's first advocacy group fighting for racial equality. >> they had a reputation in omaha and in the united states as a city that if you came in and were black, you needed to keep your head down and you
needed to be aware you weren't going to be served in restaurants and hotels. when the depor res club began, they used the term civil justice, the idea of civil rights was so far removed from the idea of the greater community of omaha or the united states, that they were operating in a vacuum. i like to say they were operating without a net. there were not those support groups. there were not the prior experiences of other groups to challenge racial discrimination and segregation. >> we look back to the union pacific, and how the construction of union station helped omaha's economy. >> union pacific is one of the premiere railroad companies of america. it was founded in 1862 with the pacific railway act signed into law by abraham lincoln. so it combined several railroad companies to make union pacific
and then they were charged with building the transcontinental railroad connecting the east and west coasts. so they started here was moving west and central pacific started on the west coast and was moving they met up in utah. and that's really what propels us even farther. we become that point of moving west one of the gateways to the west. >> see all of our programs from omaha, saturday at noon even on c-span 2's book tv. and sunday afternoon noon on c-span3. >> this remember is book tv will cover book festivals from around the country and top non-fiction authors in books. in the middle of july, we're live at the harlem book fair, the nation's flagship literary event with author interviews and panel discussions. and at the beginning of september, we're live from the nation's capital for the
national book festival that's a few of the events this summer on c-span 2's book tv. >> american history tv has been on the road all this year exploring the rich history of cities across the country. this hour we are featuring st. augustine, florida. our comcast cable partners hosted our recent visit. [ speaking foreign language ]
[ speaking foreign language ] >> want to welcome you all to castillo de san marcos national monument, part of your national park service. the fortress behind you is the castillo. it's actually the fourth to bear the name but it's the first one made out of stone here in st. augustine. it was built for a very particular reason. spain decided they had to build a stone fortification here in st. augustine to ensure their foothold on the florida territory. they were concerned about england encroaching and pushing them out of the area, and they saw florida as very important as helping to defend their hold on the caribbean and south america. you got 23 years worth of construction work here and the biggest reason for all that time, only about 175 people
working on the project at any one time. all the stone had to be quarried from the island across the bay, barged across. no mechanical stuff, it's all man-made stuff. brute force and ignorance when they move it around. and add to that the fact that they're dealing with simple machines building this ramps, pulleys, things like that. spain always wanted to have stone fortifications here in st. augustine, all the way back to the late 16th century. 1580s or so they were talking about a way to defend all their caribbean holdings, because pir piracy was a big problem. spain sent one of its best generals to defend. they came up with the idea of fortifying ten of spain's ports. the plan was puerto rico,
havana, all these were going to be fortified. number ten at the bottom of the list st. augustine. the original engineer of the castillo comes up with the plan, how they'll use the lapped and the area that they have to work with. we're at 1/5 scale model for defending the frontier between two nations. if you look at maps of sea from the 16th 17th and early 18th century, they'll have fort iskdss all the way around a city. you'll see 15 or 16 of these in some places, so it was a really common design. but he took the design and scaled it down. one of the reasons why the ideas is a little bit odd balls. windows and doorways slammed up in a corner that seems out of balance. but then the rest of the architectural details balance everything out.
the original design of the fort is what is calls trace italian. it's got a couple renovations in it from different people. right off the bat there's one we still are -- or i should say they still, exactly from leonardo da vinci. the weigh the walls are towed out at the base, distributes the ground pressure over a greater surface area so we don't sink into the marshy ground. and with a shot coming in at a right angle, shot goes up in the air, won't penetrate the wall at all. once the castillo is built, over time they see they have to modify the way they're going to defend this area, because we are on a finger of land, surrounded on three sides by water. there's only one approach down from the north to gedo ahead and get to the citiby land. you want to defend the whole thing, the best way it do that is to encompass it with a fortification. but this took so much effort to built, the amount of effort it would take to build a stone
fortifications around a whole city, st. augustine wasn't really worth it. ultimately they put 14-foot high reinforced wall with guns in place to turn the city into a fortification. right where we are now, is pretty much where about the last five fortifications were built. from here even with a little six-pound, even a four-pound gun, like the one in up there a four-pound gun can fire about a mile. so most of that coming into the harbor is under the small guns, let alone the big guns. >> what we have here is one of the swedish iron cannons that were arming the castillo in
1702. 1702 is one of the major sieges that took place here in st. augustine. prior to this fortress being built, the city had been burned into the ground by invaders, private ears, pirates whatever you want to call them several times. spain wanted to invest in building this stone fortification, not only was it going to be a gun platform to defend the city if the harbor it was also going to be a safe haven for the entire community. with castillo once it was built, if the city came under attack, everybody in town could abandon their homes, grab their valuables, come up and live inside this fortress until help came from the next spanish community. only problem was, that was havana cuba. so they were going to be inside this fort, they figured for up to three months. so the fort was really geared toward that. all the rooms on the west side were food storage rooms. north and east side stored military guns so they could defend themselves. in 1702, the english come down
and attack st. augustine. by the second day of that attack, the spanish had decided to abandon the city. the guns upstairs provided covering fire from the bastions, so the people of town could make their way to the fortress. and this is one of the guns that's doing that. but this barrel is of note because during the second day of the siege, this gun exploded. through the front end of the gun, off the top of the fort, and buried it with enough force that it wasn't found until the 1960s when they were putting a new water main in. so it gives you an example of how much force there is involved in these cannons firing. but this 18-pounder, had served the fort for a number of years before, but they forgot to keep track of how many shots had been fired. see, they had to keep track of how many shots the iron guns fired, because iron guns at this time period only had a life span of about 12 or 1300 shots.
beyond that too much damage had been done to the interior of the gun, so that it would shatter. so this gun, for me it's important, because in the 1702 siege, there are four spanish soldiers killed in the entirety of this 51-day siege. this gun here accounts for three of them. 1702 is also of note because it's pretty much how we got the city we have today, because the english, upon realizing the siege was over help got here from cuba, they didn't want to face that, so they set fire to the city burned it to the ground and marched out. the spanish go back into town see the ruins and declare victory. they hold st. augustine and what's left it but they have to rebuild the city. that's how we get the city we have today. because there are actually 30 buildings in town now today that can trace their heritage, either the core of the building the
foundation, or in some cases almost the whole building back to those decades right after 1702. this is one of the rooms that's associated with the artillery complex. for a while this was living quarters for the artillery men, so if there was an alarm, they could pour out of here, go up that ladder and get right to the guns, the command of the view of the entry way to the harbor and the city itself for the most part. later on this actually became part of the governor's complex. so if the city was under siege, the governor would actually be living inside this room over here and this was the ram that he went ahead and met all of his officers and they made all their plans, figured out things. one of the things that helps us with that is, this is also one of the rooms that's got the most original decorations, because you can see here in the walls we've got the stripes that go long and then there's the little round scallop work at the
top, even smaller scallops at the bottom going along there, and they were all colored. now this room here is one of the lead-in rooms to the old powder magazine. that doorway in there, three foot high, three foot wide is probably the oldest part of the fort other than the foundation. it's one of the original structural parts of the fort. the walls six, eight feet thick, solid to dedefend the powder magazine. so if it took hits above, the force is transmitted through the structure and into the ground below, protecting the contents. but that room was all abandoned only after three years of this fort being used, because there's no ventilation and it's florida, really humid. and humidity is the enemy of black powder.
it likes to suck the air dry and basically take all the moisture it can out of the air. so that room was abandoned, because no way for any ventilation to get in there. so it was just sitting unused. when the 1702 siege hits, the spanish city comes up inside this fortress. 1500 people. and one of the first things we do is figure out where to put the garbage. it starts to rot, you get disease, you don't know how long you're going to have the entire city in here. they had to establish the garbage pit right off the bat. that became the garbage pit. the interesting part of this, remember that gun i told you about that blew up killed three gunmen -- or three crew members i should say but not only did it kill three crew member, it wounded another one, plus six more guys. and when the whole thing is all said and done, the doctors took
a leg off one man and an arm off the other. in those days, basically garbage. so they got tossed in there as well. when the siege is over, the city's been burned to the grouped. it's more important to rebuild the city than it is to dig all that garbage out. so they sealed off the doorway and forgot about it. in the intervening years, the next room in, they decide we don't need it anymore. they seal up the top and seal up the dar way and forget about it. so for a long period of time, the only rooms that anybody knows about are this one and the one we were in before, the day room and the governor's living quarters during the time we had the vaulted arches put in. time goes on time goes on, the americans come, and in 1832, they're putting new, bigger guns upstairs on top of the gun deck. and they start hearing cracking from the ground below the gun. the crew backs away f