Who are the Menorcans?
In 1768, over 1400 people left the Mediterranean and set sail for British East Florida. Among this group were Menorcan, Greek, Italian, Corsican, and French peoples. This was the largest single group of European settlers to immigrate as a single group to the New World. The courageous efforts of the group to tame the wilderness and settle a portion of Northeast Florida represents a major contribution to early American history.
The Menorcans spent the first nine years toiling under harsh conditions and endured even harsher treatment. Their numbers were decimated by disease and starvation. In the fall of 1777, the remaining members, now less than 700 souls, walked to St. Augustine. They petitioned the British governor, Patrick Tonyn, and he granted them a space in the northwest section of the old walled city.
A second Spanish occupation and the eventual acquisition of Florida by the young United States changed the flags that flew over the city. Since coming to the city, the Menorcan colonists and their descendents have been an integral part of St. Augustine and St. Johns County for more than two centuries.
The Menorcan Cultural Society was founded in the 1980s to preserve and promote the heritage and culture of the Menorcans who left their Mediterranean homeland to make a new life in the New World. We are the only Menorcan society in the United States, and we enjoy a worldwide membership.