In 1738, the Spanish Empire established Fort Mose for escaped slaves from the American Colonies (U.S.). It is essentially the first free settlement for blacks in the United States. In 1693, the Spanish sends out a proclamation for enslaved Africans in British colonies, promising their freedom in exchange for converting to the Catholic Faith and fighting for Spain for four years against Britain. Fort Mose was built as a Military Fort near St. Augustine.
Francisco Menendez was a leader of the freed blacks in the settlement. He is believed to be a mandingo from Gambia, West Africa. Around 1763, most of the free blacks along with the Spaniards at Fort Mose and St. Augustine moved to Cuba after East Florida was ceded to the British.