The first rebellion shortly after arrival by the Turnbull colonists resulted in the death of Father Crisanthos, a Greek Orthodox priest and 25 Greek Orthodox men. After nine years of deprivation and other hardships caused by fighting malaria, diseases and starvation only 75 of 500 Greeks who made the ocean crossing survived.
The St. Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine dedication usually takes place in February. The mayors of St. Augustine for over 30 years have issued a Greek Landing Day Proclamation on or near June 26th to commemorate June 26, 1768, when the Turnbull ships registered their arrival in St. Augustine. The New Smyrna Colony was the largest single colonization ever attempted in the New World under British rule, larger than Jamestown of 1607 or Plymouth Rock of 1620, but is rarely mentioned in American history books.
The first Greek stepped foot in the Americas on April 14, 1528. A 900-pound bronze statue dedicated to Theodoros Griego, a sailor, is displayed on a tall, granite pedestal sponsored by the Panhellenic Federation of Florida. It is located in Clearwater Beach, FL near the Visitor’s Center at Pier 60 Park.
As Aristotle said, “if we are to understand anything we must observe its beginnings and its development.”
The writer is author of Hellenic Tour USA.