The Sea Tiger: The Story of Pedro Menendez (e)
Pedro Menéndez of Aviles is an unfamiliar name to many Americans—and yet in 1565 this remarkable man founded St. Augustine, the oldest continually-inhabited city in North America. Growing up in Asturia, Spain, the young Pedro becomes a master at handling boats, with an instinctive knowledge of the sea, its ways and those who sail upon it. From his nobleman father, he also comes to understand and detest “the vast, tough web piracy had spun to enmesh the shipping of two continents.” Gifts of observation, memory and strong will cause Don Pedro to achieve a legendary reputation as the “Sea Tiger, Scourge of Pirates” and in 1554, to be appointed the Captain General of His Majesty’s Fleet by Emperor Charles V. With the Bay of Biscay’s shipping channels freed from buccaneers, a fresh colonization in the New World becomes possible. In 1565, Pedro Menéndez himself heads a major—and challenging—expedition of colonists, soldiers and missionaries to successfully establish a settlement in Florida. In the words of one of Menéndez’ soldiers, “he considered nothing but the service of God and his Majesty, without looking to [his own] human interests.” Lively storytelling and concise commentary add to the pleasure of this fascinating biography about a man of integrity and unswerving faith.