by Sam Kearney
An internship with the National Park Service is very different than almost every other kind of internship. At most museums or historic sites, an intern might work on the social media for the museum, they might give tours, or they might work in some kind of store on the site. However at the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument in St. Augustine, Florida, an internship may involve dressing as a Spanish soldier from the 1740s and firing cannons, or talking about the almost 200 years of Spanish history. I, however, took the road less traveled. In a town that celebrates over 450 years of history, with almost 200 years of it being Spanish, I decided to focus on a small snippet of 21 years, from 1763 to 1784. These 21 years are the British period, when Great Britain occupied Florida.
In the Fall, I had done an internship with the Castillo de San Marcos during which I worked on the Spanish cannon firings and the Spanish history of the fort. Now I work full time as a British soldier and I am planning a night event for the Castillo. However though, unlike the other “Castillo by Candlelight” night events at the Castillo that focus on the Spanish and almost demonize the British, the event I am planning is entirely from the British perspective and is about the American War of Independence. Now, in a Spanish town, you may ask to yourself :“Why is the American War of Independence important in St.Augustine? It is not in the original thirteen colonies!” Well ,during the War of Independence, the British soldiers in St. Augustine would defend Florida from an invading American army and took part in several majors battles in the war. My event planning is only in its middle stages, and trying to convince British soldier reenactors to come to a Spanish town has proven difficult. However, I am gaining a lot of experience from the internship this semester, and I am learning quite a lot about Britain during the American War of Independence.