Home / Full timeline / The first ever recorded escaped enslaved Africans arrive in St. Augustine, Florida. An English official comes to collect them but the Governor refuses, leading to the Edict of 1693.
The first ever recorded escaped enslaved Africans arrive in St. Augustine, Florida. An English official comes to collect them but the Governor refuses, leading to the Edict of 1693.
The first known escaped enslaved Africans from Carolina came to St. Augustine in October 1687. Governor Diego de Quiroga diligently informed the Spanish government that eight men, two women, and a breastfeeding three-year-old had successfully escaped aboard through a boat. Six of the men were assigned to work towards building the new Castillo de San Marcos, while two others were tasked with helping the blacksmith, which may have indicated that they had prior experience in that field. In the governor's home, the ladies were hired as domestics. All allegedly received payment for their labor. The following fall, an English official came to collect them, but Governor Quiroga refused to free them because they had converted to Catholicism, been married in the community, and had important jobs. As a result, the Florida colony started to implement a fugitive slave rule. The first formal stance on runaways was taken by King Charles II in 1693, who stated that he was "offering liberty to everyone, men as well as the ladies, that by their examples and by my generosity others will do the same."