ST. PETERSBURG, FL. (October 17, 2014) – Alvaro Armada Barcaiztegui and Don Javier Cancio-Donlebun aren't household names in the Sunshine State, and they definitely aren't on the ballot for the race for governor. But on the eve of the 2014 Gubernatorial election, these two true Governors of Florida will travel from Spain to St. Petersburg for a rare appearance in Florida at the Museum of History.
Don Alvaro and Don Javier will join Dr. J. Michael Francis, Hough Family Foundation Chair in Florida Studies at USFSP, for a Cocktails with the Governor meet & greet at the Museum of History on November 3.
Don Alvaro holds the title of Conde de Guemes and is the Adelantado of Florida, which he inherited from his ancestor, Pedro Menendez de Aviles, founder of St. Augustine. Don Alvaro also owns one of the most important private archives in Spain, a collection of original material that chronicles the foundation and settlement of St. Augustine.
Don Javier descends from one of Florida's most influential colonial governors, Gonzalo Mendez de Cancio Donlebun. Mendez de Cancio governed St. Augustine from 1597 to 1603. He is also the governor who brought the first Irish priest to Florida. Don Javier lives in Oviedo, Spain, where he keeps the archival collection of Mendez de Cancio's Florida experience.
"It is absolutely incredible that the people of St. Petersburg will have the opportunity to meet the descendants of two of Florida's most famous characters, including the man currently recognized as Spain's governor of Florida," Museum Director Rui Farias said. "This is far more than an honor for the city, this is a once-in-a-lifetime event."
Presented by Sylvia Rusche State Farm Insurance, doors for Cocktails with the Governor open at 6:30pm. Admission is a $5 suggested donation and includes a tasting of Spanish culinary treats. A cash bar offered by Hops & Props Cafe.
The appearance of the Dons Javier and Alvaro coincide with the Imagining La Florida exhibit currently in the Museum of History. On loan from the Spanish Crown, the interactive exhibit tells of Juan Ponce de Leon’s arrival and those Spaniards who came after him, and how the complex interactions of Europeans, Africans and Indians shaped the development of modern Florida.
The St. Petersburg Museum of History is at 335 2nd Ave. NE in St. Petersburg. Museum hours are Monday-Saturday 10-5 and Sundays Noon-5. For more information on Cocktails with the Governor or to purchase tickets to the La Florida exhibit, visit spmoh.org or call 727-894-1052.
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