Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose, or Fort Mose, was the first legally sanctioned community of freed slaves in what is now the United States.
Located on the eastern edge of the marsh, just two miles north of St. Augustine, Florida, Fort Mose was a perfect line of defense for the Spaniards. Most of Fort Mose's community consisted of escaped, captured or runaway slaves from the British colonies of South Carolina and Georgia. They ran from captivity in hope of a better life in St. Augustine.
The taste of freedom quenched the desire of many men and women. Their bravery was evident, their pursuit was endless. Their uneasy journey through thick woods, wetlands and the fear of being captured kept them going. Many perished, yet those who made it were free. In 1738 more than 100 men, women and children reached Fort Mose, allowing the Spanish government to establish "Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose."
The Florida Park Service and the Fort Mose Historical Society, a citizen-supported organization, are working to spread the story of Fort Mose and its free residents. Land is being acquired to improve access and expand facilities for the public, so they may experience the fort site while protecting the archeological remains and the environment.The Story of Fort MoseMore About Fort Mose and St. Augustine's Historical PastArcheological ArtifactsPhotos courtesy of the Florida Museum of Natural History