City of St. Augustine celebrates 200th anniversary of Florida becoming U.S. territory

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — Saturday was a historical day in the City of St. Augustine.

Locals, tourists, and Spanish natives gathered to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Florida becoming a U.S. territory.

City officials marked the day with several ceremonies.

History interpreters reenacted the “Act of Transfer,” which is when Spain transferred possession of Florida to the United States.

Highlighted in the ceremony were the deep political and cultural connections that still exist between Florida and Spain today.

“Really, we’re moved. All the Spaniards here today are really moved because we’ve seen how much care the City of St. Augustine takes in preserving our common history. Our shared legacy,” said Spanish Ambassador Santiago Cabanas.

City of St. Augustine Mayor Tracy Upchurch said the city remains close to Spain.

“The Counselor General from Miami, the Ambassador [are] regular visitors. We’ve had the King and Queen… The King’s parents were here earlier,” Mayor Upchurch said.

The ceremonies on Saturday acted as a celebration of the continued relationship.

“The relation is really extraordinary. We’re friends, we’re partners, we are allies,” Ambassador Cabanas said.

Other ceremonies included a horse-drawn carriage procession and a “Change of Flags” ceremony.