"This outstanding study of religious life in Spanish St. Augustine during the years 1670-1763 will surprise many. Employing original records from Spanish archives, the author shows that the principal authorities of church and state were almost constantly engaged in contentious struggles. And at fault was the very structure of Spanish colonial life. This illuminating and most readable book belongs on every Florida history shelf."-- Michael Gannon, Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of History, University of Florida
This book offers a lively analysis of the religious world of colonial St. Augustine, Florida, focusing on the daily rituals that defined a Catholic life, as well as on the conflicts between religious and political leaders that defined and shaped the city’s social milieu.
Working with documents in both Florida and Spain that correct, amplify, and qualify previous work in the field, Robert Kapitzke describes the turbulent interactions between representatives of the church and the crown. He examines inquisition cases, ecclesiastical asylum disputes, and jurisdictional battles between parish priests and their Franciscan counterparts that regularly threatened the ordered world of the colony. He also shows that, at the same time, the colonists’ deeply rooted religious faith brought stability to their community, which faced destruction throughout its colonial history.
This work fills an important gap in Spanish American history by presenting, in vivid detail, the dynamic religious life of the principal settlement and capital of colonial Florida.
Robert L. Kapitzke, an independent scholar and former teacher at the University of Sevilla in Spain, is the author of numerous articles on colonial St. Augustine, including one published in the Florida Historical Quarterly that received the 1994 Society of Colonial Wars Annual Publication Award.