I decided to write about the Pensacola area in this post. We first moved to Florida in 2003. After working away from the area off and on for a few years, we moved back in to our house in Milton for a year before we sold it this year, 2021, and went full time in our RV. We joined SOWERS https://sowerministry.org and have been traveling through several states doing service projects for a month at a time in different locations.
Besides the fact that we have family and friends here, we like to return to the area. It’s beautiful and has so much to offer.
Because there’s so much here; beautiful beaches, clear gulf water, festivals, arts, music, theater, schools, hospitals, food and more, I have decided to divide this Pensacola blog post into a couple separate posts. This first one will be about the rich history of the area, which will explain the pictures of the five flags above.
Most of the information for this posts comes from a couple different websites – https://www.pensapedia.com/wiki/Main_Page is one. Another was a web https://www.wikipedia.org/ and web searches using DuckDuckGo https://duckduckgo.com/about
We know Five Flags flew over this city. According to the research I found on multiple websites, below is a little timeline I put together with a few historical facts that I found interesting.
-In 1513 Ponce de Leon discovered Florida -In 1539 Hernando de Soto explored Florida -On June 11, 1559 Tristan de Luna led an expedition from Vera Cruz, Mexico to establish Pensacola -August 14,1559 Luna's expedition entered Pensacola Bay -September 19,1559 A hurricane hit Pensacola Bay and destroyed Luna's fleet -March 16,1561 Villafane arrived in Pensacola as relief for Luna's expedition after the 1559 hurricane, a few weeks later... -April 9,1561 Villafane became the first govenor of Florida -1565 St Augustine was founded by the Spanish and becomes the first permanent European settlement Now the Spanish Flag flies over Pensacola -June 13,1694 The King of Spain gives the OK to settle Pensacola -1707 The Creek Indians with British encouragement burn Spanish Pensacola -1719 The Spanish recapture Pensacola Now the French flag flies over Pensacola - May 16,1719 The French attack and capture Pensacola Now the Spanish flag flies over Pensacola again -1722 France burns Pensacola, then the Spanish recapture Pensacola and occupy it -1723 The Spanish build a village on Santa Rosa Island and the French leave Pensacola Now the British flag flies over Pensacola -1763 The Spanish leave Pensacola and in the Treaty of Paris, they give Florida to the British -1775-1783 During the Revolutionary War, Florida remains loyal to England -June 21,1779 Spain declares war on England threatening Florida Now the Spanish flag flies over Pensacola AGAIN -May 8,1781 A British General surrenders Pensacola to Spain after cannon mortar destroys a British powder magazine Now the U.S. flag flies over Pensacola -1795 Spain yields its claim to Northwest Florida. The U S and Spain sign the Pickney Treaty establishing the U S and Spanish Florida border -1812 War of 1812 - The U S declares war on England and annexes portions of West Florida to Louisiana and to the Mississippi territory. -November 14,1814 Andrew Jackson captured Pensacola and he evicted the British from the Spanish forts Now the Confederate Flag flies over Pensacola -Florida secedes from the Union Now the U.S. flag flies over Pensacola -May 25,1868 Florida is readmitted to the Union
In 1886, Geronimo became the first Florida Tourist attraction. He was captured and held at Fort Pickens in Pensacola for about a year and half. Admission was charged to see this Apache Indian, who many had heard of, but had never seen.
Fort Pickens where Geronimo was held, is one of three forts designed to protect Pensacola by blocking the harbor. The other two forts were Fort McRee and Fort Barrancas. As you can see in the map below, Fort Pickens and Fort McRee are at the entrance to the harbor. Fort Barrancas is further in enabling them to stop a ship that may make it past the other two forts. The forts are now part of National Park System. Fort Pickens is available for touring. Fort Barrancas is on the Navy Base, NAS Pensacola, and at this time can only be accessed by someone with a Department of Defense ID card. Due to changes in the water flow and sand shifts, Fort McRee is underwater.
Besides touring the fort at Fort Pickens, camping is also available there. More information can be found at this link https://www.nps.gov/places/000/fort-pickens.htm. Camping reservations can be made at https://www.recreation.gov/camping/campgrounds/234704 .z\A
Another interesting tidbit – there’s been a lot of discussion about which is Florida’s oldest city, Pensacola or St. Augustine. In most discussions it comes down to this: Pensacola Is slightly older, but St. Augustine is the oldest continually occupied city. So, that’s that.
I hope you found this post interesting. The next one will be more all about Pensacola.