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Matanzas Inlet in southern St. Johns County is about 50 miles south of Jacksonville,14 miles south of St. Augustine and three miles north of "Marineland." It is one of the few remaining "inlets" in northeast Florida not protected by a jetty thus presenting an easy study of what an inlet might have looked like in the past. Because of this lack of protection, the inlet is in a constant state of flux and may change considerably in a relatively short period of time. Today's inlet (spanned by a modern bridge on State Road A1A) is significantly south of the inlet which existed in 1740 when the Spanish began construction of Ft. Matanzas on Rattlesnake Island to protect the southern approach via the Matanzas River to their "Castillo de san Marcos" in St. Augustine.