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Posted on: February 2, 2024

City recognizes birth of founder Don Pedro Menendez de Avilés

Pedro Menendez statue in front of City Hall

Public invited to wreath-laying ceremony to kickoff 100th Anniversary Celebration of special relationship with Avilés, Spain.

On Thursday, February 15 at 11:00am, the City of St. Augustine will mark Don Pedro Menendez de Avilés’ 505th birthday with a brief wreath-laying ceremony at the base of his statue in front of City Hall, located at 75 King St., marking the kick-off the 100th Anniversary Celebration year of the city’s relationship with Aviles, Spain.

In 1924, the City of St. Augustine sent representatives as part of the first official American delegation to visit the Kingdom of Spain following the signing of the Treaty of Paris, and the end of the Spanish-American War.  This historic visit is often considered the start of our “sister city” relationship with Avilés, Spain.  Sister Cities as we know it today was first established in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and our official Sister City relationship with Avilés was established in July 1967.

The public is invited to attend the ceremony which will include a processional and a reading of the proclamation in front of the statue of Don Pedro Menendez by a group of reenactors from Historic Florida Militia, as well as remarks offered by Mayor Nancy Sikes-Kline, followed by light refreshments and cake.

Menendez, who founded the city on September 8, 1565, was born in Avilés, a port city in the Asturias region of Spain, on February 15, 1519.  Following a career in the Spanish Navy during the reign of Spanish King Phillip II, his voyage to Florida in 1565 was in response to the French having founded Fort Caroline.  The French were defeated soon after the arrival of Menendez and the establishment of St. Augustine. 

The area in front of city hall was named Parque de Menendez in a ceremony on February 15, 1978, by the City Commission and attended by the Ambassador of Spain to the United States.  The statute itself is a replica of one in Avilés, given by “the People of Avilés, Spain to the People of St. Augustine, Florida” on September 8, 1972.

For media inquiries, contact Melissa Wissel, Communications Director, at 904.293.3307 or via email at mwissel@citystaug.com.

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