Pedro Menéndez de Avilés
Pedro Menéndez de Avilés (15 February 1519 – 17 September 1574) was a Spanish admiral and explorer from the region of Asturias, Spain, remembered for planning the first regular trans-oceanic convoys and for founding St. Augustine, Florida in 1565. This was the first successful Spanish settlement in La Florida and the most significant city in the region for nearly three hundred years. St. Augustine is the oldest continuously inhabited European-established settlement in the continental United States. Menéndez subsequently became the first governor of Florida.Menéndez made his career as a sailor in the service of the Spanish king, Philip II of Spain. His initial plans for a voyage to Florida revolved around searching for his son, Juan, who had been shipwrecked there in 1561. However, following the founding of Fort Caroline in present-day Jacksonville by French Huguenots under René Goulaine de Laudonnière, he was commissioned to conquer the peninsula as Adelantado. He established St. Augustine in 1565, then seized Fort Caroline and displaced the French. His position as governor now solidified, Menéndez focused on exploring the area and building further fortifications. He returned to Spain in 1567 and was appointed governor of Cuba in October of the same year. He voyaged to La Florida for the last time in 1571, with 650 settlers for Santa Elena, as well as his wife and family. Menéndez died at Santander, Spain, in 1574.