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1812 Constitution Monument
St. Augustine Florida
This may be the only monument left in the Western Hemisphere to the Spanish Constitution of 1812.
This is located in the plaza in St. Augustine Florida. The Constitution was adopted in March of 1812,
Spanish subjects in St. Augustine did not receive news of the event until six months later. On January 4,
1813 the town council met to discuss the royal order. The Spanish Governor informed the town council
on January 19, 1813 of the above decree and instructed them that the naming of the Constitution Plaza
should be inscribed on a tablet.  Another royal decree by the Spanish parliament on August 14, 1812
named all the plazas where the Spanish constitution was officially proclaimed to be called Plazas de la
Constitucion.

Arredondo resigned from the construction committee because he did not believe that enough funds
were raised for the importance of the monument. Alvarez and Alderman Eusebio Gomez took his
place. Alvarez requested that they be allowed to use the coquina rubble from the Palacio Episcopal
(across the street). On December 24, 1813 the town council received 151 pesos for construction of
the monument.  In another year before the town council approved a design for the new monument, and
it was completed in January 1814.

The master mason of the monument was Marion with two apprentices and a black laborer to assist
him. Benjamin Seguier (Sequi) was another mason assisting with the work and a master carpenter
named Cercopoli did minor carpentry work.

In 1814, Spain rescinded its constitution. On September 14, 1814 word was received from Havana
and Alderman Francisco Pons was ordered to remove the tablet from the plaza. On January 18, 185 a
royal order, dated July 20, 1814 was received declaring the dissolution of the constitutional
government and the local town council. On May 4, 1820 the council was recreated as the result of the
re-proclamation of the 1812 constitution. On May 11, 1820 the tablet was once again placed in the
monument.

Monument
The monument was made from coquina and stucco. An iron bar was added to support the perilla
(pear-shaped ball) at the top of the monument. The cornice was premade and set in the monument.
There is Masonic symbol on the tablet. Masons were instrumental in the movement for constitutional
government in the British colonies, Spain and Spanish America. The obelisk is 30 feet high placed on a
coquina foundation.

Felix Varela, Fernando de la Maza Arredondo, Francisco Rovira and Genonimo Alvarez
Four prominent people are linked to this monument - Father Felix Varela (on his way to sainthood).
From St. Augustine (in his boyhood) he would have a part in the writing of this constitution. Later he
would die across the street from the monument (in the American period). Arrendo was the senior
alderman and Rovira was the town attorney. They were appointed to develop the plans and
specifications for the monument. Geronimo Alvarez, the first Spanish mayor of St. Augustine, (and
owner of the
Oldest House) would be mayor during the building of the monument and would be
instrumental in keeping the monument when the order came from Spain to tear it down.

Inscription
The Spanish inscription on the monument was: "Plaza of the Constitution, promulgated in the city of St.
Augustine, in East Florida, on the 17th day of October, in the year 1812; the Brigadier Don Sebastian
Kindalem, Knight of the Order of Santiago, being Governor. For eternal remembrance the
Constitutional City Council erected this monument, under the superintendence of Don Fernando de La
Maza Arredondo, the young municipal officer, oldest member of the corporation, and Don Francisco
Robira, Attorney and Recorder. In the year 1813."
Sam Cooley
Constitution Monument and Government House
St. Augustine, Florida. Monument
Creator(s): Cooley, Sam A. (Samuel A.), photographer
Date Created/Published: [between 1861 and 1869]
Sam Cooley
Constitution Monument and Public Market
St. Augustine, Florida. Monument
Creator(s): Cooley, Sam A. (Samuel A.), photographer
Date Created/Published: [between 1861 and 1869]
Francis Benjamin Johnson
Library of Congress
1937
W. J. Harris
Plaza
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/161228
St. Augustine, Fla. : W.J. Harris, [19--?]
[Panorama of the Plaza de la Constitucion]
Photographer:
William Henry Jackson, 1843-1942
Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher
Date Created/Published: [between 1880 and 1897]
[Panorama of the Plaza de la Constitucion]
Photographer:
William Henry Jackson, 1843-1942
Related Names: Detroit Publishing Co. , publisher
Date Created/Published: [between 1880 and 1897]
"Public Square, St. Augustine." Lithograph from The History and Antiquities of the City of Saint Augustine, Florida (New York, 1858)
U. S. National Archives
Photographer: Gil Wilson
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