Five ships sail into a small cove on the coastline of what was known to the Spanish as La Florida. Under the command of General Pedro Menendez de Aviles, they come to the New World from Spain. Sent by King Philip II, they arrive in hopes of establishing a colony securing the land for Spain, and most importantly, to convert the native American Indians to Christianity.
On September 8, the feast day of the nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Spanish on the ships, sailors, soldiers, tradesmen and priests, come ashore. Father Francisco López de Mendoza Grajales, recorded the day?s events in his diary:
On Saturday the eighth the General landed with many banners spread, to the sounds of trumpets and the salutes of artillery. As I had gone ashore the evening before, I took a cross and went to meet him, singing the hymn ?Te Deum Laudamus.? The General, followed by all who accompanied him, marched up to the cross, knelt and kissed it. A large number of Indians watched these proceedings and imitated all that they saw done.