(Now known as it was spoken of by the British… Pensacola) 

Panzacola was a name of Native American origin (see below) given to the bay and subsequently to the Spanish settlements built thereupon in the 17th and 18th centuries, specifically the Presidio San Miguel de Panzacola. It is the antecedent of the modern name Pensacola. The name Panzacola became synonymous among the Spanish with the bay and its surrounding settlements. It is, also, a little known factual quote that has been positively proven. Further on, factual information and defining will render a descriptive of the State of Florida’s Escambia County, Escambia River and the State of Alabama’s adjoining Escambia County. The word Panzacola was first reported by Juan Jordán de Reina, who in 1686 encountered a group of Native Americans by the bay and transliterated their word for it, later referring to them collectively as the "Panzacolas." The settlements at Presidio Santa María de Gálvez, Presidio Isla de Santa Rosa, and Presidio San Miguel were all known alternatively as "Panzacola" during their respective establishments. The San Miguel presidio was officially named "Panzacola" by royal decree in 1757

​​When the French siezed Spains territory in 1719 they called it "Pensacolle." Spain recovered their territory in 1722. The location is where Fort Barrancas is.

The change of pronunciation to "Pensacola" seems to have occurred in the same manner as the word “presidio” in the Spanish language (read the side note below). Basically, this is a via phonetic lenition under British rule, as the English used "Panzacola" and "Pensacola" interchangeably; when the city returned to Spanish rule, "Panzacola" was again used exclusively until the 1821 cession to the United States. Thus, due to the English language, it has been pronounced as it is spoken of today. This boils down to the simple fact that different languages have different annunciations for the same thing. This is a fact. 

Here is another rendering for the word “Presidio”. The word “presidio” is a fortress that is established by the Spanish in order to protect their missions and other holdings. Fortress or fort is defined as being a fortified defensive structure. The Spanish gained this word from the Latin term praesidium, which in Latin is defined as guard, defense, from praesidre, to guard. There you go, it really is a fact. It, kind of, makes things a little more understandable. 

Listed below you will see further information regarding the 1600 map. 

Captions on the map are as follows: 

* Title: Descripcion de la Bahia de Santa Maria de Galve, y Puerto de Sn. Miguel de Panzacola con toda la Costa contigua y las demas Bahias que tiene en ella, hasta el Rio de Apalache, observada, y reconozida por los Ingenieros Dn, Jamie Lajonk, y Don Juan de Siscara 1700

* (translated) Description of the Bay of Saint Mary de Galve, and Port of Saint Michael of Panzacola with the total contiguous coast and the other Bays contained in her, up to the River of Apalache, observed and reconoitered by the engineers Mr. Jamie Lajonk and Mr. John de Siscara. 

* The word Panzacola is also Panza-cola. The meaning is Long Hair People. 

* Legend of 17 units: Tronco de dies y siete leguas, castellanas, con que se mide Este Mapa. 

* (translated) This River is navigable, for boats, and canoes, and has four mouths  as it is seen. 

* The word "quatro" is treated as "cuatro", both meaning "four". 

* Left margin handwriting: Francia / España / Rio de los perdidos 

* (translated) France / Spain / River of the lost ones." 

You can view an actual modern day satellite image that hones in on the exact area drawn in the La Bahia De Santa Maria map. Go to Google Earth and search Santa Rosa Island Florida or Northwest Florida. You will see that the coastline is almost unchanged from 1600 / 1700 to NOW. What is even more amazing is that there were absolutely NO satellites, airplanes or even blimps / balloons / dirigibles during that time frame of when these maps were drawn! WOW! 

General Thomas Gage, British Commander-in-Chief in America 1764

Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville

Emanuel Point I and II

This Florida map (dated 1700 in Spanish) of the Pensacola area is labeled as the Bay of Santa Maria de Galve and Port of San Miguel de Panzacola with the contiguous coast and other bays, up to the river of Apalache. Along the left coast is Santa Rosa Island (La Flora/ Florida), labeled as Punta de Siguenza on Isla de Santa Rosa ("Rofa"); left of the island is "Barrancas" on Punta de Agusxo, south of "S. Miguel" (Panzacola) marked by a house symbol.

Just one small portion of the British Fort George has been rebuilt, exactly in its previous location. This was done in remembrance of the Battle of Pensacola, which is considered one of the major battles of the American Revolution… and in the top five for least known. The two cannons on display at Fort George (Feurte San Miguel) are real and actual 16th century British cannons. The rebuilt portion of Fort George rests on west side of Palafox Street and is south of Cervantes Street. Continue reading/learning and get a more in-depth enlightenment of this below.

For the British, Palafox was called George Street, for King George III the Street is present on the 1812 Pintado plan,

where it is labeled Calle de Palafox.

The picture, above, is a painting made from descriptions of the Queen Anna Redoubt attack completely destroyed the structure. In turn, the British surrendered ALL of West Florida to the Spanish. Sometime during the 61 day Battle of Pensacola, Gálvez, was in front of his troops and was wounded by musket fire. Albeit he was wounded, he lived. The Queen Anne redoubt played an integral role in the Siege of Pensacola, allowing Spanish forces under Bernardo de Gálvez to capture the city. On May 8, at around 9:30 am, a Spanish artillery round landed near the door of the redoubt's powder magazine, detonating it. The resulting explosion killed 76 British troops and wounded two dozen more.

Spanish troops occupied the shell of the fortification and installed a new battery bearing down forcefully at close range on the nearby Prince of Wales Redoubt and Fort George. The Queen Anne redoubt played an integral role to hold a key line of defense during the 1781 Siege of Pensacola. This allowed Spanish forces under Bernardo de Gálvez to capture the city. Facing a siege force at such close proximity, Peter Chester and John Campbell requested terms of surrender at 3 pm on that day. In 1781, Florida, again, came under the control of Spain. British Maj. General John Campbell surrendered 1,113 men. An additional 300 men were paroled to Georgia, while 105 men were reported as casualties. The Spanish suffered 74 killed and 198 wounded. Bernardo de Gálvez sent the British prisoners to New York so they could eventually be repatriated. Gálvez gave the French fleet some 100,000 pesos, which they used to resupply. Those French ships went on to participate in the blockade/campaign of Yorktown, Virginia that went from 1770 to 1781.
With the capture of Pensacola, the British were expelled from West Florida, making it a Spanish possession, while also eliminating a potential southern threat to the American colonies from the British.The rebuilt and renamed British Fort George, can still be visited on Palafox Street (or Gage Hill). It was not maintained afterwards. The Spanish presences in West Florida also prevented the British from diverting men from East Florida and the West Indies to the American colonies for fear of Gálvez attacking those possessions. This victory not only greatly aided the American right for independence, but also resulted in a return of Pensacola (and Florida) to Spanish control. After the war, Bernardo de Gálvez was personally honored by General George Washington and today is revered as a national and international hero for his role in the American Revolution. Historic maps suggest fallen soldiers from the Battle of Pensacola likely lie unmarked beneath the urban streetscape. This being in the immediate area of Saint Michael’s Cemetery.

The Battle of Pensacola is considered the greatest victory of Bernardo de Gálvez’s career. The Battle of Pensacola has been described and is historically proven as a cross-culture event. The Spanish renamed the Queen Anne redoubt Feurte San Bernardo and maintained it throughout their occupation of Pensacola until 1821. The United States government allowed the fort to deteriorate, and nothing now remains of it. During the last forty years of Spanish occupation in Pensacola (Panzacola), the military continued to build fortifications for defense. Fort George was renamed Feurte San Miguel, and the Prince of Wales was renamed Feurte Sombrero. The only fort that was occupied was Feurte Bernardo. Consideration was given to abandoning the city in favor of an earlier site of Feurte San Carlos de Barrancas (or a short term of Feurte San Carlos, English named as Fort Barrancas) near the bay entrance. New fortifications were built at the harbor entrance. It was hoped that Panzacola’s meager defenses could withstand a siege by Indian or European armies long enough for assistance to arrive from Havana. Below is a photo of where Fort George once sat atop Gage Hill, pictured in the 1870's. The road seen to the center of the photo is (and was) Palafox Street.

Escambia County (the first) and Saint John’s County (the second) 

In the late 17th century, the French began exploring the lower Mississippi River with the intention of colonizing the region as part of Louisiana. Fearful that these overtures would threaten Spanish territory in both Florida and Mexico, the Spanish determined to establish a new settlement to over play the French. In 1698 they finally established the fortified town of the Presidio Santa Maria de Galve’. This was to the east of what is now Fort Barrancas, laying the foundation for the modern city of Pensacola. The Spanish built three presidios (a presidio is a fortress: a fortified settlement, especially of the type established by Spanish colonizers in the United States) in Pensacola. The history within the time frames is explained in more detail further into the time lined historical information.

History of Escambia County


The same area is imaged above, for another look at what once was West Florida. These were well before the states of Alabama and Mississippi. Shown in either image is the Georgia Territory that was north of the Florida Territory and made its border line the Mississippi River, just as Florida did. 

Ribault then returned to Europe to arrange supplies for the new colony, but was arrested in England due to complications arising from the French Wars of Religion, which prevented his return. In 1566 the Spanish, led by Pedro Menéndez de Avilés founded a settlement named Santa Elena which became the capital of La Florida for the next decade. Spain finally abandoned Santa Elena in 1587. England took control of the region by the 17th century, and Parris Island became home to British plantations after being purchased by Colonel Alexander Parris, treasurer of the South Carolina colony, in 1715. This justifies the U.S. Marine Corps using the sayings Semper Fidelis (in short just Semper Fi) and Esprit de Corps, as this validates (and ties closer to) the Latin and French derivatives. Semper Fidelis means Always Faithful. Esprit De Corps means enthusiasm, devotion, and strong regard for the honor of the group. End of side note. 

Jean Ribault

Pensacola, Florida has a rich and colorful history dating to over 500 years, being the first European settlement in the continental United States (1559) and over that time to now Pensacola has been controlled by five countries. Pensacola's location has been the foundation for greatness and has caused great turmoil, with many buildings destroyed by wars, fires and by numerous major hurricanes. The location, to the west of the original British colonies, and as the dividing line between French Louisiana and Spanish Florida along the Perdido River, has caused the possession of the city to change multiple times. 

America’s history begins right here! (Historically proven, yet little known, fact.) 

A half-century before the arrival of the Pilgrims at Plymouth and several years before Saint Augustine was founded and named for Augustine of Hippo November 13, 354 – August 28, 430, Bishop of Hippo Regius, also known as St. Augustine or St. Austin. He was an Algerian Berber philosopher and theologian.

The original residents of Escambia County—the Panzacola, Choctaw, Creek, Poarch, Apalachee, Muskogee, Seminole and Yamasee Indians—were on hand for the first landing of Europeans anywhere on the American mainland. Over the course of the next 400 years, the flags of five nations flew over this area on one or more occasions. The county included the island of Santa Rosa, which runs from Fort Pickens to Destin. 

Bernardo de Gálvez y Madrid


1821 - Secretary of State John Quincy Adams ordered the building of the forts and Navy Yard at Pensacola. Caused huge upswing in timber trade.
1826 - First saw mill built in Pensacola area and from 1828-50, Brick exports increased. Bricks were made where NAS Pensacola is today.
1851 - First foreign shipment of lumber to leave the port.
1861 - Confederate Army seized Pensacola and its resources. When they retreated, the Confederates burned and destroyed port facilities and other Industrial properties. Trade ceased. After the war, the city and the port were rebuilt.
1870 - Resurgence of timber trade.  
1875-95 - 4,168,319,000 feet of lumber was carried through the Port of Pensacola with a value of approximately $50 million. Other significant exports were barrel staves, cotton, phosphates, grain, tobacco, flour, resin, turpentine, coal, pig iron and shingles.
1882 - Pensacola & Atlantic Railroad (later L&N) constructed a link to Jacksonville. Later, L&N acquired rights to build docks and warehouses, and to purchase steamships to handle cargo. Pensacola's population was 13,000.
1880;s - There were 16 wharves over 3 miles from Bayou Texar to Bayou Chico, primarily privately owned.
1929 - Stock Market crash and beginning of the Great Depression. The port languished.
1941 - World War II. Need for coal for allied forces caused new activity for Port of Pensacola. Also the beginning of new interest in waterfront potential.
1942 - Round-table established to explore ways to revitalize the Port. Representatives from Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, Jaycees, Chamber of Commerce and others led by Calvin Todd, a wholesale grocer, recommended the port be put under public ownership.
1943 - Municipal Port Authority was established and purchased the major wharves originally owned by L&N and St. Louis, and San Francisco RR's. Full time port director hired. Also during that year, the Florida Legislature passed enabling acts creating the Pensacola Port Authority, with limited powers, but with a goal of revitalizing a seaport which had enjoyed prosperity through World War I. The Authority struggled and made little progress until the mid-1950’s when the Louisville and Nashville, and the St. Louis and San Francisco railroads deeded local docks and service facilities to the port authority.

1955 - Second fire swept Muscogee wharf ending coal shipments.

1957 - A dozen Authority members embarked on an ambitious program which resulted in new cargoes, new revenues and new ideas. One of  the concepts, considered at that time, was creation of a modern seaport terminal superimposed over the 70 year old twin dock L&N facility. 1958, an unexplained fire destroyed Commendencia Street/City docks those old wooden piers before financing could be planned for replacements. 
1959 - The business community joined forces with the businesses, the City Council, and Port Authority to redevelop port facilities. 
1960 - Trade broke off with Cuba (during 1950's Cuba was major destination of cargo through Port of Pensacola). Port began looking for new trade opportunities.
1963 - Necessary funding was obtained for Phase I of the "new port" becoming operational and successful. From the beginning, it was a success. 

1965 - 98% of all creosote-treated poles were exported through Florida ports, 63% of Florida's exported peanuts were shipped through Port of Pensacola.

1966 - Unfortunately, however, fire destroyed Frisco Docks. The historic but aging Frisco dock fire forced faster-than-anticipated additional new terminal construction.
1970 - In August, Phase II of the modern Pensacola Marine Terminal came on stream. From that date forward the port has enjoyed increasing success and recognition as one of the region’s most important economic resources. With dynamic cargo mixes changing with the times, naval stores, building materials, transmission poles and machinery gave way to industrial chemicals, fuel oil, sulfur, bagged food and metal products. 

1976 - Port Authority disestablished and Port of Pensacola made a department of the City of Pensacola by ordinance # 49-76.

1978 - A third major warehouse was constructed. The additional warehousing structures were constructed, completed and improved during 1979 to

1982.  All types of proper handling equipment were acquired. Dry and liquid bulk storage and distribution facilities provided enhanced cargo handling capabilities. For a time, Pensacola drew a lion's share of the nation's export bagged food, almost literally "selling out" the port's terminal capacity. But, with the dynamic transportation environment, changing patterns of trade, intense competition and deregulation, Pensacola embarked on a new cargo diversification strategy which has been markedly successful. Products such as cast iron pipe, electrodes, non-ferrous metal scrap, aluminum ingots, wood pulp, transmission poles, military equipment, lumber and plywood and other general cargo began moving in and out of Pensacola.
1997 - Port operations switched from operating port to landlord/tenant port. Focus switched from agricultural bagged goods to other diverse cargoes such as wood pulp, frozen meat and poultry products, sulfur and asphalt, steel pipe, aggregate, lumber, rail cars and bulk lime. Additional cargo handling equipment and personnel have enabled the port to become even more productive as a conduit for commerce in international trade. Steve Doring and steamship agency services are competent and productive, transportation and distribution options have increased many fold and the strength of the servicing railroads now provide shippers with profitable opportunities for rapid, cost controlled service via Pensacola.
2009 - Juan Sebastian de Elcano, the world's third largest tall ship, visited the Port of Pensacola June 3 - 9 to help celebrate Pensacola's 450th  anniversary.

Please note... the date on the map is the ACTUAL DATE! It is NOT a rough assumption of a general time frame.

The use of fireworks more than doubled in the United States in the decade between 1992 and 2002. In 2003, American citizens blew up more than 220 million pounds of the decorative explosives. In the 19th Century, apple pie was considered a healthy breakfast food, although the crust was not customarily eaten.

 *    In July 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation was 2.5 million.

 *    The 2010 Fourth of July, the nation's residency has risen to over estimated 300 million. And, continues to blossom.

 *    Eleven places in the United States have “independence” in their names. The most popular one is Independence, Missouri.

 *    Our nation's mascot, the bald eagle, can reach speeds of nearly 200 miles per hour when making a predatory dive. During a normal flight, the bald eagle can        travel up to 30 miles per hour. Benjamin Franklin’s thought, for a National bird, was for a turkey. Obviously, the eagle beat the turkey.

 *    Thomas Jefferson passed away on the Fourth of July.

Go to downtown Pensacola for an awesome show of fireworks.

Get there early! It gets way crowded, way fast!

And, parking quickly becomes difficult to find! 

The Spaniards renamed the Gage Hill area to Mount Miguel. After 1781 it was and now is known as Palafox Hill. The word Palafox has the possibility of originating its name from one of two areas, or both.  Here is the first. Palafox Street is possibly named for José de Palafox y Melzi (also noted as José Rebolledo de Palafox: Born in Saragosse in 1776, he was a general of the Spanish Army, and senator, he is considered as the hero of the Saragosse siege during the war of the Independence versus Napoleon). We’ll get into Zarragossa in a moment. The second is the Spanish definition of palafox meaning pale fox. Below are the actual pictured paintings of those just learned and spoken of, to give a visual to our history. 

Florida Counties: In 1821, there were only two Counties in Florida: Escambia to the west and St. Johns to the east. From these two Counties, 67 have been formed. In 1968, the electors of Florida granted local voters the power to adopt charters to govern their counties. Charters are formal written documents that confer powers, duties, or privileges on the county. To date, there are 19 charter Counties in Florida. Collectively these Counties are home to more than 75 percent of Florida's residents. 

Three (most noted and largest) forts were built during the 1821 expansion era, Fort Pickens, Fort Barrancas (site of Fort San Miguel on the southern side) and Fort McRee (NOT McRae, as it is often named, called or referred to). The city and Fort Barrancas was the site of the 1814 Battle of Pensacola. Fort Pickens holds the distinction of being the only Southern Fort that did not fall out of control of the Union Army during the civil war. The decision to locate an agreeable Territorial Capital was reached by sending riders from Pensacola and from St. Augustine along the Old Spanish Trail. They met in the small Indian village of Tallahassee. This is the reason that Tallahassee is the Capital for the State of Florida. It’s where they met up, venturing from the original (the only) two counties for Florida being, Saint John’s County and Escambia County. Escambia went from east of the Mississippi River to west of the Apalachee river and Saint John’s went from east of the Apalachee river and south covering the entire peninsula. Pensacola had Spanish Trail/ Old Spanish Trail as the main active road. This road is still in use today, just not on the main traffic path as it once was.

After a February 3, 1892 ordinance by the provisional municipality of Pensacola, the street was paved and streetcar lines (trolleys or yesteryear’s taxi) were placed by the Pensacola Terminal Company. There still are bricked streets in Downtown Pensacola that have the former trollie rail lines visible, as you drive.

The time at which this took place was during the onset of the American Revolution. After Spain carried the Battle of Pensacola to a decisive American Revolution victory, Spain reclaimed Pensacola. In the process, Pensacola returned to its original name of Panzacola. The intersection of Cervantes and Palafox Streets finds its history as follows. Cervantes Street was named after Miguel de Cervantes 1547-1616, pictured below. He was a well noted Spaniard and author of the story (book) “Don Quixote” spelled "Quijote" in modern Spanish and is two separate volumes now nearly always published as one. The story covers the adventures of Don Quixote, with his friend and side kick Sancho Panza. Sancho Panza is also known as the knight or man of La Mancha, a hero who carries his enthusiasm and self-deception to unintentional and comic ends. Miguel de Cervantes’s story is so well recognized that the overall story was rewritten to perfectly fit a screen play titled “Man of La Mancha” musical. The musical first played at the Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut in 1965 and has carried on to 2005… all over the world! In 2006 a short movie was made by Big Idea Incorporated’s Veggie Tales (founded by Mike Nawrocki and Phil Vischer). Veggie Tales is an American series of children's computer animated films (cartoons) featuring anthropomorphic vegetables in stories conveying moral themes based on Christianity. With a little research, you can find this recorded and available for you and/or your kid’s enjoyment.

William Bartram Trail Way-marker (on Bayfront Parkway) is located at the Bartram Park right next to the L&N Marine Depot, to the south side of Seville Square. Pensacola Visited by William Bartram, 1775. While waiting for a ship to take him from Mobile to the Pearl River further west, Bartram decided “to fill up this time” by joining a boat destined for the Perdido River (originally has been written as the Perdedo) “for the purpose of securing the remains of a wreck.” His subsequent arrival in Pensacola was “merely accidental and undesigned.” Although he “designed to conceal my avocations,” Bartram was soon introduced to Governor Chester of West Florida, who: “Commended my pursuits, and invited me to continue in West Florida in researches after subjects of natural history, etc. nobly offering to bear my expenses, and a residence in his own family as long as I chose to continue in the colony…”
Although his visit to Pensacola was a brief one, Bartram was evidently impressed by the city and gives detailed descriptions of it in his Travels.

Anxious to continue his trip to the Mississippi, Bartram returned by boat to Mobile shortly after his arrival.

William Bartram

General Thomas Gage, When the American Colonies revolted against British taxation, both Eastern and Western Florida stayed loyal to the British similar to Canada. The Tories, or British Loyalists, in the other colonies came to Florida for fear of reprisal by the Revolutionary Government. The American Revolution was a transatlantic event that involved virtually every court in Europe. France's role in the conflict is well-known, but Spain, too, played a vital part in helping to create the United States. Spain was an ally of France and long an enemy of Great Britain. It was more due to these relationships, than a great affinity for the struggling new republic that prompted Spain to officially enter the war against Great Britain in 1779.

GEORGE III - George William Frederick III (the 3rd), whom Fort George was titled after.

Metamora, the commander of the fort, caught unaware surrendered to the French that afternoon. The French occupation of Pensacola lasted only three years and, following a hurricane they (the French army) burned the fort and abandoned it to the Spanish. Immediately following the Spanish re-occupation the French settlement was moved from the barrier island to the mainland. French and Spanish influence among the Creole and native people of the Gulf Coast is still present in modern times with a large proportion of residence and can be seen in their food and celebratory customs.

Florida, in its beginning, had its border reaching all the way to the Mississippi River. Obviously, this has changed over time. There are still places in Louisiana that are valid proof of this having occurred. This can be verified by researching the Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819. Spanish West Florida was a Spanish colony which included Pensacola and most of the Florida Panhandle. Spanish West Florida was ceded to the United States by the Adams-Onis Treaty 1819 and transferred at a ceremony at Plaza Ferdinand VII in Pensacola in July 1821. Here are the boundaries. Spanish West Florida contained the portions of present-day Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida south of the 31st parallel north, bound to the west by the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, on the east by the Apalachicola River, and by the Gulf of Mexico to the south. After the Louisiana Purchase, the United States claimed the portions of Spanish West Florida from the Mississippi River eastward to the Perdido River, just west of Pensacola. Spain contended that its territory extended west to the Mississippi River. This caused tension between the two nations, and led to increasingly frequent incursions into the territory by the United States Army, under Andrew Jackson and others. The status of the disputed area was not fully resolved until Spain ceded it, along with the East Florida, to the United States in 1819

Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora

Hernando de Soto

Juan Ponce de León, by historically proven fact, is the first finder of Florida. The Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León landed while searching for the fabled Isle of Bimini. The exact spot where Ponce de Leon and his men/crews came ashore remains a mystery. It is thought to have happened in a few different location, but on  April 2, 1513, is when they sighted land which Ponce de León believed was another island. He named it La Flora (the flower) in recognition of the verdant landscape and because it was the Easter season, which in Spain goes from March to April. Spaniards have titled Easter as "Pascua de Flora". Meaning Festival of Flowers in english.

Juan Ponce de León’s Discovery of Flora (Florida)


1723 - Spanish reestablished a trading settlement in the same location. 
1743 -
First record of commercial exported cargo out of the port consisting of pine and pitch products, wood masts and spars for sailing vessels.  
1753 -
Settlement on Santa Rosa Island destroyed by hurricane. 
1754 -
Settlement reestablished as Pensacola on the present site on the mainland, the port was established and trade commenced.

1763 - Pensacola ceded to the British.

1784 - First private commercial dock built and commenced import-export trade with England.

Further below is a pre-1800 map of North America, a “New Map of North America Shewing all the New Discoveries 1797". This map was "Engraved for Morses Gazetteer of America", in 1797 and take note that this is well before “states” were formed. 

1814 - Andrew Jackson camped his troops in what is now the Cantonment Community in mid-Escambia County and where the paper mill is. This is also how the town received its name; a cantonment is a temporary quarter for troops. A cantonment is a military or police quarters. The word cantonment is derived from the French word canton meaning corner or  district, describes permanent military stations. Cantonment Clinch was an Army fort in Pensacola, Florida from 1822 to the 1830's. Army Meteorological Register  summarizes observations that the Post Surgeon began in 1822. Army troops escaping yellow fever at other forts, and in the city of Pensacola, built this cantonment at the head of BAYOU CHICO circa 1821. The cantonment lay three miles west of Pensacola, then a small town. They named the cantonment after a beloved  Colonel Clinch in their regiment. The cantonment contained ten log barracks and ten quarters for officers around a large parade ground. Its soldiers probably  saw action in local wars against the Indian tribes of this frontier area. They also constructed roads to other military facilities in west Florida and adjacent  portions of Alabama. The post closed circa 1830 when the troops evacuated to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  


and a little bit to read! 

Above, you can get a hand drawn viewing of Panzacola.

This was drawn by and for the Spaniards in 1781.After Spain joined the American Revolution late, in 1779, the Spanish captured East Florida and West

Florida. Spain regained the territory from Great Britain from 1781 to 1819. This was due to in the 1781 Battle of Pensacola. When the Spanish regained

control of Pensacola in 1781, they utilized the infrastructure already in place at the establishment. The street-scape that was defined by the British was kept,

the only major differences was altering the street names. In 1819 Spain and the United States negotiated the Adams-Onis Treaty or Transcontinental

Treaty, and Spain sold the Florida Territory to the United States for $5 Million. In 1821, General Jackson was appointed Military Governor by President

James Monroe and in so became Florida's FIRST governor. Pensacola became the Capital of Florida. Pensacola (and all of Florida) became part of the

United States. What is today downtown Pensacola was, in the mid-18th century, a small frontier outpost. One area of designated use was the general site of

the community burial ground, this being the Saint Michael’s Cemetery. More of Saint Michael's Cemetery is covered in the page of Then & Now 2.

 Below is the actual British Flag that was captured by Bernardo de Gálvez after the Battle of Pensacola.

One Nation under GOD, in GOD we trust

Elias Durnford (1739-1794) and his wife, Rebecca Walker (pictured to the right), were married in 1769. Durnford was a central figure in the establishment of the British colony of West Florida. He was chief engineer and surveyor general of the colony and in 1769 was named lieutenant governor. He served in that capacity until Spanish forces invaded West Florida in 1779. He was responsible for surveying and a setup of an orderly street plan.  In 1763, the British went back to the mainland area of fort San Carlos de Barrancas, building the Royal Navy Redoubt just to the east. (This made for the site location of the Navy Yard and then becoming Pensacola Naval Air Station.) During the Seven Year’s War from 1756-1763, France and Spain battled the British. Britain captured Cuba and at the end of the war Spain ceded La Flora (Florida) to the British to regain Cuba. More British arrived to occupy Panzacola in August of 1763. Due to the prior exploration, the first attempted settlement of Pensacola was large and became the largest city in Florida, as the capital of the British colony of West Florida in 1763. They found the town and military stockade in poor condition. In 1765, engineers completed a new plat for Panzacola. Fort George was a British fort at Pensacola, built in 1772 atop Gage Hill for its strategic advantage and is now home to Lee Square. Panzacola changed to Pensacola due to a difference in language annunciation of the word from Spanish to English.

Fort San Carlos de Austria and the Presidio Santa Maria de Galve’

The Spanish erected the fort and presidio in 1698. This was the beginning of both a military occupation and the permanent settlement on the present day Naval Air Station Pensacola (NAS Pensacola). The fort protected the fortified settlement against attack from the French, British and American Native Indians. The French burned the fort and took control in 1719. In 1722, the Spanish reoccupy Pensacola. The Spaniards built the "second Pensacola” on Santa Rosa Island. In 1754, a hurricane destroys Pensacola and the survivors depart Santa Rosa Island for the mainland.

For over 300 years this site was lost. Between the 1995-1998 time periods, archaeologist from the University of West Florida rediscovered it and found that much of the settlement still survives below the ground.

If there is any wonder as to the flowers seen here, they are all flowers that are native to the State of Florida and there are many more!

The following day they came ashore to seek information and take possession of this new land. The precise location of their landing on the Florida coast has been disputed for many years. Some historians believe it occurred at St. Augustine; others prefer a more southern landing at a small harbor now called Ponce de León Inlet; some feel he made land fall in the panhandle, so named Ponce de León and some argue that Ponce came ashore farther south near the present location of Melbourne Beach. Regardless of the exact landing, Juan Ponce de León continued up the west coast of Florida to venture to the newly founded land. On one of his explorations he came across a tribe of Indians, called the Calusa, when he and his fleet entered the Charlotte Harbor area. As he and his men explored inland for wood and fresh water, they saw the Calusa tribal village at Mound Key. They discovered that the Calusa were an unfriendly tribe. The explorers fled back to their ships and decided to leave the area. They sailed back to Puerto Rico. In 1521, Ponce de León returned to Florida again to build a colony. He landed on the gulf beaches between Charlotte Harbor and Estero Bay with over 200 settlers, horses, tools, and seeds. The plan was to set up a farming colony. As they went inland for fresh water, the Calusa indians ambushed them. Ponce de León was shot in the thigh by an arrow and was seriously wounded. The settlers decided to abandon the settlement and sail back to Cuba. As a result of his wound, Ponce de León died at the age of 61 in Cuba. He will always be remembered as the brave conquistador who first founded and explored many parts of Florida, and searched for the mythical fountain of youth. I guess that is kind of understandable, seeing as he was getting on up there in years and had a full life... even by today's standards. From Ponce’s discovery of Flora (Florida) it was further explored by the expeditions of Pánfilo de Narváez in 1528. Pánfilo de Narváez was the first to land here. The next was Hernando de Soto in 1539 he chose the same site to use as a base for explorations in the New World. After several years had passed Lieutenant Francisco Maldonado, under Conquistador Hernando de Soto, visited the area during the early Spanish exploration of North America. He anchored in Panzacola Bay (Pensacola Bay) for the winter of 1539–1540.

THE DON TRISTAN de LUNA EXPEDITION  (The settlement of Panzacola {Pensacola})

Photo from-University Archives and West Florida History Center, University of West Florida Libraries

Val Kilmer

James Henry

"Doc" Holliday

1851 - 1887




Billy Clanton

(1862 - 1881)

Ferdinand Magellan 1480 - 1521

Juan Sebastián Elcano 1476 - 1526

Here is a bit of “extra history” that, like everything else here, has been found to be valid. This was the HAWKSHAW Community located on South 10th Avenue. The Hawkshaw site has supported historic occupations which span a period of nearly 2,000 years. It was inhabited around A.D. 150 by groups of Native Americans whom archaeologists call the Deptford Culture. Scientific excavation of the site revealed hundreds of trash pits containing food remains and household debris which provided detailed information about the daily life of these prehistoric people. They sustained themselves with the abundant marine resources available in the area. Hawkshaw is important to archaeologists because the remains of the Deptford Culture are not mixed with those of other Native American cultures. For this reason the site gives a very good indication of what life was like during Deptford times. The next time the site was used was the middle of the 18th Century when the Spanish built a brick kiln here before 1761. A little later, during the British occupation of Pensacola (1763-1783), a complex known as the Governor's Villa was built nearby for Peter Chester, Governor of the Province of West Florida. The Villa was burned in 1781 by the troops of General Bernardo de Gálvez during his recapture of Pensacola for the Spanish. After Florida was acquired by the United States in 1821, Hawkshaw became part of a plan to create a "New City" to serve the railroad industry. The New City Hotel was built in 1836 with over 100 rooms. It remained in operation into the 1840's. After the failure of the "New City", Hawkshaw evolved into a working class neighborhood whose residents were largely employed by the industrial and commercial establishments associated with lumbering and the railroad. It became the first of Pensacola's outlying black neighborhoods. Hawkshaw's waterfront once contained Wright's Lumber Mill, which could cut 30,000 board feet of lumber a day in 1882, and the Muscogee Wharf, which served as a coaling station for the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. After the destruction of Wright's Mill during the 1906 hurricane and the decline of the lumber and railroad industries, many of the residents of Hawkshaw became "baymen" who earned their living by loading ships, fishing and gathering shellfish.  

San Miguel (Saint Michael)

Duke José Rebolledo of Zaragoza

Historic Side Note: 

Zarragossa in downtown Pensacola. There are very many street names that hold validity to the Spanish heritage we have. Now granted, not all of the street names are “properly” spelled and/or annunciated. But, they still have and show a direct correlation to our being founded. Anyone with a map or the Google Earth can hone in on what and where this is. One can see the larger and most noted places in Spain that have correlation to Pensacola, that is its founding to modern age. You can see an actual street sign depicting a Spanish spelling of Zarragossa (which is… as seen, Zaragoza or seen as Saragoza, Saragosse), much like Panzacola transcribing to Pensacola.

The images above are at the only remaining portion of Fort George. It's a VERY small portion, but has been reconstructed to its exact size and makings. It gives a visual of what was originally there. The two cannons in place are British and can be (have been) validly dated to the time frame of their use there.

King Carlos III (above, pictured first) awarded Gálvez the titles "Count of Gálvez, Viscount of Galveztown, and Governor of West Florida and Louisiana". Gálvez was also promoted to Lt. General. Gálvez continued his campaign against the British in the West Indies and the Upper Mississippi Valley until 1783, when he returned to Spain. Also in 1783, the British officially signed over West and East Florida to the Spanish in the Treaty of Paris almost solely because of Gálvez's successful campaign. September 3, 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed by America, Britain, Spain, France and The Netherlands. Among the terms of the treaty other than recognition of independence was that America's borders were recognized to extent to the Great Lakes in the North, Florida in the South and the Mississippi River on the West. It was also agreed that Loyalists would not be persecuted. On November 25, 1783, the last British soldier evacuated from New York City. On January 14, 1784, the Treaty of Paris was ratified by Congress, finally officially ending the Revolutionary War. During the 1976 bicentennial, an archaeological team spent nine months excavating areas of Gage Hill. They unearthed elements of the British and Spanish forts, including a section of the moat, a powder magazine and several vaulted rooms believed to be latrines. Using the findings, a partial reconstruction of the fort was constructed lower on the hill. It is currently maintained by the City of Pensacola.

Also noted, is the Escambia County area and County road named Muscogee. This portion of fact to the American Indian’s adds truth to the, overall, history of Pensacola (Panzacola). Located in the northwestern portion of Escambia County is a road, so named, Muscogee Road. In downtown there is, but yet another, rendering to the Muscogee Indian Tribe. This is the Muscogee Wharf. We will cover more of that later.

The French Period, from 1719-1722

The French occupation of Pensacola was the shortest in its history, only lasting three years. The Governor of French Louisiana, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, arrived in Pensacola in May of 1719. He with his fleet and a large ground force of Indians set themselves to take control of the fort.

The Origin of Panzacola 

Tourism     (For those who are visiting and those who live here.)

Don Tristan de Luna y Arellano

Pánfilo de Narváez

Juan Ponce de León

Early Spanish explorers were known as conquistadors (kahn-KEYS-ta-dawrz), "conquerors." While there are no official records, historians believe that Ponce de León was born in 1460 in San Tervas de Campos, Spain (They didn't have "Birth Certificates" back then.). Prior to Ponce de León’s exploration venture, he actually had sailed with Christopher Columbus in 1493. Knowing of Christopher Columbus’s experiences and learning in as good a manner as Ponce could, he gained knowledge and furthered his sailing desires. He and his family settled on an island in the Caribbean named Hispaniola (Dominican Republic). He became a military commander at this post and was appointed Deputy Governor. In 1506, Ponce de León discovered a nearby island named Borinquen. While there, he found large deposits of gold. Soon after his discovery, he left the island. He returned in 1508 on orders from the king of Spain to explore and colonize the island. He renamed the island Puerto Rico. He was the island's governor for two years until the king replaced him with Columbus' son. Ponce was displeased with this action. This, in turn, started a discovery trek that brought us to what we know today. 

The vast bulk of the battle centered on Fort George. Fort George was/is located on Palafox Street, between La Rua & Jackson Streets. The small rebuilt portion is located in its exact spot, to its exact original construction. In spite of Bernardo de Gálvez being out numbered 3 to 1, the British held their position for about two months. A modern day photo of Fort George can be seen further below. In each case, Gálvez was able to force the British from their entrenchments. These victories diluted British strength in the south when Great Britain needed it most—just as it was bringing the campaign into the southern colonies. In the spring of 1781, he led the successful Spanish attack on Pensacola.

For centuries, the exact location of Tristán de Luna y Arellano’s 1559 settlement in Pensacola — the first multi-year European settlement in the United States — has been a mystery.

Not anymore.

Archaeologists from the University of West Florida announced in October 2015

the discovery of one of the most significant historical sites in the nation: the archaeological site of the de Luna settlement, to the east side of Pensacola.
“Our archaeological team has discovered and can support the statement that the land settlement site of Tristan de Luna has been located within the city limits of Pensacola, Florida,” said Dr. Judy Bense, the university’s president and founder of its archaeology program. “And we are telling the world today.”

In October, Pensacola native Tom Garner discovered Spanish colonial and Native American artifacts close to the two previously discovered shipwrecks in Pensacola Bay. The “Emmanuel Point shipwrecks,” found in 1992 and 2006, having been

​validified and linked to the de Luna expedition.
The artifacts Garner discovered are definitive evidence of de Luna’s settlement, which lasted from 1559 to 1561 — the earliest multi-year European colonial settlement ever archaeologically identified in the United States.

De Luna’s Pensacola settlement predates the Spanish settlement in St. Augustine, FL. by 6 years, and the English settlement in Jamestown, VA. by 48 years.

Here are JUST A FEW of the ARTIFACTS FOUND by Tom Garner & the UWF Archaeology Program... so far.

Side Note: Cervantes Street or

Highway 90 is an east-west stretch

that runs through south Pensacola.

It is named for Miguel de Cervantes. He was, and still is, a honored and

respected Spanish author. He is the

author of the VERY well known

book "Dom Quixote" (in English

pronunciation, don  key-o-tea).

This is a photo of a book that is 300 years old. More information on this is further down this page. Just keep scrolling...you'll find it.

The Second Spanish Period, from 1722 - 1763 

As wars raged on the European Continent, the Spanish again took control of the Bay of Pensacola. They then built the second fort, Presidio Isle de Santa Rosa. This took place on Santa Rosa Island (as it is still titled as such today) in 1722. The location was near the current location of Fort Pickens. While the entire Gulf Coast was dominated by the French and the Spanish, they found themselves beset with sudden and vicious attacks from British pirates, smugglers and merchants who would supply goods at a much better price than both the French and Spanish. This brought the demise to the Bourbon Monarchy in Madrid, Spain. 

Here is the time line as it happened. 

  • ​Presidio Santa Maria de Galvez (1698 - 1719): The presidio included Fort San Carlos de Austria (to the east of present day Fort Barrancas) and a village with a church.
  • Presidio Isla de Santa Rosa (1722 - 1752): This was on Santa Rosa Island near the site of Fort Pickens. But, due to hurricanes battering the island in 1741 and again in 1752, the presidio was abandoned and moved inland. 
  • Presidio San Miguel de Pensacola (1754 - 1763): The final presidio was about 5 miles to the east of the first presidio. This being in the present day Historic District of downtown Pensacola. This presidio became a fort when the British acquired the Florida Territory from Spain and the British constructed a full fort titling it Fort George. When the Spanish won the battle that took place here during the American Revolution, they renamed the fortification Presidio Miguel de Cervantes. The Spanish did this to pay remembrance and respects to Miguel de Cervantes. They also went back to Spain's original name of the settlement, Panzacola of Spain. 
  • Royal Navy Redoubt (1763 - 1781): The British went back to the mainland area of Fort San Carlos de Barrancas and Pensacola became the capital of British West Florida. 

Following the British victory of the Seven Year War (commonly referred to as the French and Indian War in America), Britain took control of West Florida in the Treaty of Paris. It was under direct British control that Pensacola and the entire region began to flourish. Spain ceded Florida to the British as a result of the French and Indian War and Panzacola was made the capital of the new British Colony of West Florida. It is very easy to notice the spelling of "Panzacola"  on the original map. This validates Pensacola's original name. The map below shows you the street grid of Pensacola around the British Fort of Pensacola. Elias Durnford is the man that drew the map.

Emanuel Point I was discovered in 1992 by a Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research team.

Emanuel Point II was discovered about 1,320 feet from the first site. In summer 2006, funded by a $203,368 grant from the Florida Division of Historical Resources, a team from the UWF Division of Anthropology and Archaeology discovered a pile of ballast stones, which were later revealed to be covering a well-preserved wooden hull. It was confirmed to be one of Luna's 11-ship fleet in 2007. Per a UWF archaeologist Greg Cook, he stated the following; “Less than a dozen ships from this time period have ever been discovered. This is the oldest wreck found to date in the State of Florida and the second oldest in America.” 

The Emanuel Point shipwrecks are two underwater archaeological sites discovered in Pensacola Bay (near Emanuel Point) that have carbon dated to prove/ validate the remains of two 16th-century Spanish ships from the Luna expedition that sunk in the 1559 hurricane.

The finding of Tristán de Luna's Ships (2) in Pensacola Bay, Florida

University of West Florida (UWF) - Division of Anthropology and Archaeology

The plaques state the following;


(English translation is “I ALONE”)

Siege of Pensacola, 1781

Bernardo de Gálvez

Dedicated 200 years later on May 8th, 1981


Eduardo Anievas, Sculptor- Santander Spain

Battle of Pensacola

Escambia and St. Johns counties were Florida's original (and only) two counties; the Suwannee River (as for the Suwannee Indians) was the border between them. Many remember, know of or can sing the old song “Suwanee River”. This song was written by a very well- known composer by the name of Stephen Collins Foster or just Stephen Foster (the first picture below).

The pictures above mark the dividing point between Florida’s Escambia and Santa (Saint) Rosa Counties, via the Escambia River. Escambia, what is that and what does that mean? Escambia County was created on July 21, 1821. It was named for the Escambia River. Originally, the name "Escambia" seems to have the derived from two possibilities.

The Creek Indian's name Shambia, meaning "clear water", or the Choctaw Indian's word for "cane-brake"/"reed-brake".

In Spanish, the letter "E" placed in front of a word means; it, that, the and is. Thus describing the river named by the American Indians. The word its self from the Spanish is Escambe and is rendered to San Joseph de Escambe (1741-1761) mission - This Apalachee mission was established upriver along the Escambia River (which possibly took its later name from this Spanish mission), possibly as a relocation of the earlier Apalachee community at the mouth of the river.  At the time it was the northernmost extent of Spanish influence from Pensacola. A Franciscan missionary was stationed here, along with 16 members of a Spanish cavalry unit after about 1760. It was administered by Apalachee chief Juan Marcos Fant until its destruction during a Creek Indian raid on April 9, 1761. Although the burned ruins of this site were still visible during the 1770s, and were known to early British travelers and settlers in the area, memory of the mission's location and identity was largely lost by the time the region was permanently settled during the 19th century.  Detailed historical and archaeological work carried out as a part of the Pensacola Colonial Frontiers Project have resulted in the identification of the 250-year-old archaeological site on private land in Molino, Florida, and archaeological research is still ongoing in order to learn more about the site and its inhabitants. Here are just a few photos of the archeological work being (and having been) done on the site in Molino by the University of West Florida.

Pedro Menéndez de Avilés

Archaeology Side note:

Archaeologists identified one of Luna's ships, the so-called Emanuel Point wreck, in the 1992. A team led by University of West Florida archaeologists John Bratten and Greg Cook located a second, smaller Luna ship, dubbed "Emanuel Point II," just a quarter of a mile from the first wreck in Pensacola Bay. "During the last week of our 2006 field season, we found the ship's ballast stones," says Bratten. The crew then exposed intact hull timbers and recovered artifacts that were stored in the bow and stern, such as jars that once contained olive oil, wine, or water. "We also found rat bones and the remains of cockroaches," says Bratten. The ships are the oldest known in Florida waters and provide nautical scholars with a new look at 16th-century shipbuilding practices in the New World. They also help give historians a complete picture of who accompanied Luna to Florida. "We recovered three pieces of Aztec pottery and a group of obsidian cutting blades," says Bratten. The artifacts would have belonged to Aztec warriors who accompanied the expedition. The results of their findings are on display at the T.T. Wentworth Museum (formerly the Pensacola City Hall - City Courthouse) at Jefferson Street and Zarragossa Street. There you will see loads of other historical things from Pensacola and Escambia County. End of side note.

Historical Santa Elena side note:

Jean Ribault (1520 – October 12, 1565) was a French naval officer, navigator, and a colonizer of what would become the southeastern United States. He was a major figure in the French attempts to colonize Florida. A Huguenot and officer under Admiral Gaspard de Coligny, Ribault led an expedition to the New World in 1562 that founded the outpost of Charlesfort. Two years later (1564), he took over command of the French colony of Fort Caroline in what is now Jacksonville, Florida. He and many of his followers were killed by Spanish soldiers near St. Augustine. (Pedro Menéndez de Avilés sighted land on August 28, 1565. As this was the feast day of Augustine of Hippo, the territory was named San Agustín, now is Saint Augustine, in 1565.) The purpose of the expedition was an attempt to establish an outpost, for which to have a position to aid the colonization of Santa Elena (present day Parris Island, South Carolina… Semper Fidelis). Charlesfort (1562-1563) was established when a French expedition, organized by Protestant leader Admiral Gaspard de Coligny and led by the Norman navigator Jean Ribault landed at the site on the May River in February 1562, before moving north to Port Royal Sound. Ribault left twenty-eight men to build a settlement known as Charlesfort. 

Notice the photo above.

Pensacola has been under the possession of Spain, France, back to Spain, Great Britain, back to Spain, the United States, and the Confederate States, then back to the United States. The order just written is the order at which the said countries/states held possession. The order seen in the photograph is what was displayed at the City of Five Flags monument at the time of the photo, spring of 2012. It has remained a part of the United States since the end of the American Civil War, belonging to the American people. Beyond political and economic strife (that is endured to this very day), the fires, wars and numerous hurricanes have been massive factors in Pensacola’s history. The single event or combination of events have destroyed lives, property, numerous houses and left many people (adults and children) homeless or deceased. 


Located in the median of Palafox Street at Wright Street

And, facing north towards Fort George.

1873 - This is the Tivoli High House where Doc Holliday stayed in Pensacola for a few days before boarding a steamer bound for Texas. While playing cards in the Glad Hand Saloon, and being a true Southern Gentleman, he had a an altercation with a sailor who was who was groping a very young (and new) prostitute.

Archaeologist John Bratten explains the initial conservation of gudgeons—metal strips that held the rudder to the stern of the Emanuel Point II wreck—in his lab at the University of West Florida. The sediment and water appear to swirl in different directions and my eyes struggle to focus. I’m not deep, just 12 feet below the surface of Pensacola Bay, but visibility is zero. A brief twinge of panic seizes me. A hand grabs mine and guides it to a hard patch in the soft sand. Floating words appear: “We are at the stern.” The hand then pulls me shoulder-deep into a hole. More words: “Sternpost.” A moment later, there’s no more hand. I scan the gray-green haze for bubbles but see nothing. Following procedure, I wait 30 seconds and surface. My guide, University of West Florida (UWF) archaeologist John Bratten, bobs just 10 feet away, an underwater writing slate in hand. We drift back to the dive platform, a custom-built barge where a group of UWF graduate and undergraduate students tend to gear, take notes in yellow field books, and help each other in and out of the water. They’re excavating the wreck of a ship from the 1559 colonization fleet led by Don Tristán de Luna y Arellano, a Spanish nobleman possessed of more ambition than luck. Pensacola Bay, in Florida’s western panhandle, is littered with wrecks, from Civil War–era ships to steamers to fishing boats. It is, after all, in Hurricane Alley, and it was a great storm that sank this ship and five others in Luna’s fleet, dooming one of Spain’s most promising attempts to settle the Southeast United States and expand the colony of New Spain (Mexico) north and east, all the way to the Atlantic Coast. That storm—let’s call it a force majeure—looms large over the eventual colonization of North America. “Over a period of 24 hours, it went from the most well-planned, well-provisioned colonization attempt to a question of survival,” Bratten says. The Emanuel Point II wreck (like Emanuel Point I) consists of a ship’s lower hull topped by a pile of ballast stones and artifacts. Oysters and clams colonized the ballast pile, creating a cap that preserved perishable materials such as rope and leather. (Courtesy Greg Cook, University of West Florida)

When he and I return to the water that afternoon, visibility is a scenic two feet. We navigate by rail, following the system of tapes and lines strung along the site. A pair of students looks for the ship’s rudder with an underwater metal detector, while two more groups excavate at the stern and amidships, piling larger items into milk crates and using induction dredges that suck sediment and smaller artifacts into mesh bags. As I observe, Bob Marley’s “Is This Love” starts playing in my head. But it’s actually coming from a set of underwater speakers that help pass the hours of excavation-by-feel. The wreck consists of a lower hull beneath the sand, topped by a pile of ballast, artifacts, and oyster shells, but after several dives I still can’t form a mental picture of the ship it once was. Only very little can be seen at one time. It’s like trying to picture a darkened room after peeping briefly through a keyhole. The students and archaeologists like to speak of rare days of light and clarity, when they can float on the surface and see the outline of a ship. That and their hours of groping around the site have given each of them a mental map of the vessel. Similarly, findings from this wreck and another ship from the fleet—found nearby in 1992—combined with documentary records are forming an ever-more-detailed composite picture of Luna’s ill-fated expedition and how a single storm changed the landscape of colonial North America. “The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that had the Luna expedition been given half a chance to succeed, the entire fabric of colonial North America would have been altered dramatically,” says John Worth, an anthropologist at UWF. “We’d be speaking Spanish right now.”  Well, Mr. Worth, we don’t hold Spanish language as the primary language. But, when anyone drives/rides/walks/bicycles around Pensacola/Escambia County/Santa Rosa County, there are very many roads/areas/communities that were named from the Spanish dialect and out right beginning. The following are but just of a few obvious names/streets/communities that definitely have Spanish ties. Visit the University of West Florida’s website or go on campus to the UWF library if you’d like more information. If you go to University of West Florida’s library, ask for historical guidance from anyone at the front help desk.  The more one learns of America’s 1st Settlement, the more one can interestingly see our true founding and understand the City of Five Flags.

Take note of the pictures above in Pensacola Bay as divers excavate the wreck of a ship from the colonization fleet of Spanish nobleman Tristán de Luna. Though the site is not in deep water, visibility is a challenge, so archaeologists and students learn to excavate by feel and instinct. (Courtesy John Bratten, University of West Florida) In August of 1559, Spanish nobleman Don Tristán de Luna y Arellano anchored a fleet of 11 ships in Florida's Pensacola Bay. He intended to found the first European colony in the present-day southeastern United States. But in just a month, a storm grounded six of his vessels, destroying much of the doomed colony's supplies. Luna abandoned the effort shortly thereafter, leaving behind scant remains of the early Spanish presence. Archaeologists identified one of Luna's ships, the so-called Emanuel Point wreck, in the 1990's. Now a team led by University of West Florida archaeologists John Bratten and Greg Cook has located a second, smaller Luna ship, dubbed "Emanuel Point II," just a quarter of a mile from the first wreck in Pensacola Bay. "During the last week of our 2006 field season, we found the ship's ballast stones," says Bratten. The crew then exposed intact hull timbers and recovered artifacts that were stored in the bow and stern, such as jars that once contained olive oil, wine, or water. "We also found rat bones and the remains of cockroaches," says Bratten. The ships are the oldest known in Florida waters and provide nautical scholars with a new look at 16th-century shipbuilding practices in the New World. They also help give historians a complete picture of who accompanied Luna to Florida.

"We recovered three pieces of Aztec pottery and a group of obsidian cutting blades," says Bratten.

The artifacts would have belonged to Aztec warriors who accompanied the expedition.

Next (below), is the Juan Sebastian de Elcano in route to Panzacola (British or English annunciation Pensacola). This was being led by the Spanish Navy. The Juan Sebastián de Elcano is a training ship for the Royal Spanish Navy. She is a four-masted topsail, steel-hulled schooner. At 113 meters (370 feet) long, she is the third-largest Tall Ship in the world. She is named after Spanish explorer Juan Sebastián Elcano, captain of Ferdinand Magellan's (hence the Straights of Magellan) last exploratory fleet. The ship also carries the de Elcano coat of arms, which was granted to the family by Emperor Charles I following Elcano's return in 1522 from Magellan's global expedition. The coat of arms is a terraqueous globe with the motto "Primus Circumdedisti Me" (meaning: "First to circumnavigate me"). The Juan Sebastián de Elcano was built in 1927 in Cadiz, Spain, and her hull was designed by the Spanish naval architect and engineer Juan Antonio Aldehyde y Arias in the Echevarrieta y Larrinaga shipyard in Cadiz. The shipyard sustained major damage from a devastating explosion on August 18th, 1947. Her plans were also used twenty-five years later to construct her Chilean sail training vessel sister ship the Esmeralda in 1952-1954.

The First United States Period, from 1821-1861

The territory of Florida, under the Governorship of Andrew Jackson, began to grow rapidly as a seaport and a site for commerce.

The Pensacola Naval Yard was designed in 1825.

The Battle of Pensacola is one of the TOP 5 BATTLES OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION!!! The ONLY reason it is not known of is due to Florida still being British Territory and NOT one of the 13 Colonies! Due to the extensive amount of time spent on his ship, Bernardo de Galvez named his ship Galveztown and can be notated in the way-marker shown below. Galveston, Texas was named in his honor.

Now back to the onset of the American Revolution.
At the time of the American Revolution, almost all of the modern-day United States west of the Mississippi, was a part of Spain, as was Mexico. King Carlos III of Spain appointed a young nobleman named, Bernardo de Gálvez​ (only 30 years old) as Governor General of Louisiana on January 1st, 1777. Louisiana was (at that time) in Spanish territory (not the French) and its governor was Bernardo de Gálvez

The fort was the largest and principle fort of a three fortifications built on the hill. These were the two redoubts (fortifications) built by the British – the first redoubt built was the Queen Anne Redoubt located 600 yards north northwest of Spring and Cervantes streets, the second (and lastly built) was the  Prince of Wales Redoubt 300 yards north northwest at Baylen and Brainerd streets. Prince of Wales Redoubt was measured 300 yards centered to the Fort and first Redoubt. All three were part of the defense system. Fort George consisted of a square parade ground, an earthen rampart with four demi-bastions, surrounded by a dry moat. The fort wall mounted 20 cannons, yet only two were placed on the rebuilt portion of Fort George, as seen on site and in photos. An outer earthwork stretched southwest for approximately 600 feet.  By 1781 the city had over 250 new dwellings. Plans included enlarging the deteriorated stockade at the waterfront, the development of the city streets and residential lots. After six years the British West Florida population swelled from 2000 colonist and slaves to nearly 6000. To better defend the city, three new fortifications were built north of the water front stockade. Over that time frame is when the name Panzacola became Pensacola. The place was still the same, but its name became spoken and written as Pensacola. The area was titled as Gage Hill, which has become North Hill Area/District in the mid-1780's (or shortly thereafter). Here is a brief rundown of Gage Hill. Gage Hill is in central Pensacola. It is the eponymous hill of the North Hill neighborhood, its highest point located roughly at the intersection of Cervantes and Palafox Streets. It was named for British General Thomas Gage, who on November 16, 1764 was appointed as the new commander-in-chief in America.

The first two photos above are remakes of what would have been seen, upon Tristan de Luna’s landing. The third is an actual Spanish anchor that has been recovered from the Emmanuel Point ship wrecks. It is commonly held that "Panzacola" was the name of the Indian tribe and further, that the word ACTUALLY means long hair or hairy people. It is unknown if this was indeed the demonym speaking of the Indians themselves or the Spanish hearing, understanding or annunciation of the word spoken to them. American Indians very typically had/have long hair. Spaniards normally had long hair, beards and mustaches. Please note that this is a non-proven theory and could be an aspect from both languages (cultures). This is merely a thought, hence the word theory.

The original inhabitants of the Pensacola Bay, and its surrounding area, were Native American peoples. The Panzacola Tribe of Indian is of the Creek, Seminole, Yamassee, Choctaw, Apalachee, Poarch and Muskogee Indian Tribes. These names are not actually recorded in writing until 1677, but was spoken of almost a century earlier (that is validated fact). Despite the fact that the first Spanish presidio established on Pensacola Bay was located in an area which was by that time (1698) largely devoid of indigenous Native American inhabitants, Pensacola's three successive presidios (Santa María, Santa Rosa, and San Miguel) ultimately found themselves neighbored by several immigrant groups living in various distinct communities through the departure of the Spanish in 1763.  Among these groups were Apalachee Indians originally native to the Tallahassee region, and who are documented to have arrived in at least two waves, including a first group in 1704 after the destruction of the Apalachee mission province by Creek and English raiders, and a second group in 1718 during the aftermath of the Yamasee War, when Creek Indians withdrew their sole alliance with the English of South Carolina, and many Apalachees living among the Creeks returned to Spanish territory.  Yamasee Indians, originally native to eastern Georgia, also arrived in Pensacola after the 1740 English siege on St. Augustine, where they had retreated after the Yamasee War.  By the late 1750's, these two groups were living in two distinct mission communities at some distance from the new mainland location of the Spanish presidio at San Miguel (modern Pensacola's downtown).  The residents of both these missions engaged in extensive trade and interaction with the Upper Creek Indians of central Alabama, but during the period when they found themselves on opposite sides of the French and Indian War (1756-1763), both missions were burned to the ground in Creek raids during 1761, along with several Spanish ranches/plantations. Native American pottery was used extensively by the Spanish residents of all three Pensacola presidios (listed above in bold), and has been recovered archaeologically at all sites. The Creek Indians are, to this very day, well known. The Creek tribe is noted for around the Southeast portion of America. They still have a reservation outside of Atmore, Alabama. Atmore is just to the northwest of Escambia County, Florida and is just across the northern border to the State of Alabama. 

There are a number of annual festivals, events, historic sites, landmarks and, lest we forget, the beach. The Pensacola Seafood Festival and The Pensacola Crawfish Festival held in the heart of historic Downtown have been held for quite a number of years with live music acts, by both locals and from abroad. The Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival is held annually in November in Seville Square often drawing more than 200 regional and international artists, as well as, The Children's Art Festival which is held in the same park featuring art by children from local area schools. There are several walking tours for the historic 18th century (1700’s) era restored neighborhood AND HORDES of locations throughout Pensacola that one can get a glimpse/remembrance/taste of Panzacola (Panzacola, yes that is correct) in its deep history.

Pensacola is the site of The Vietnam Veteran's Wall South. The Wall South is 1/2 the size of "The Wall". It was erected in 1992 and is the only remake of the full size "The Wall" that is located in Washington, D.C. It is located at Admiral Mason Park/ the Veteran’s Memorial Park. There are a number of historical military installations from the Civil War. Fort Pickens served as a temporary prison for Geronimo and his former wife passed away while the Apache Indians were “imprisoned” here. She was laid to rest at Barrancas National Cemetery. She is located about 17 rows from where my grandfather (former Warrant Officer for the United States Marine Corps) and my grandmother was laid to rest. There is the honorable, exciting and deeply informational National Naval Aviation Museum at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola. The museum is so well respected that the Smithsonian Museum “tips its hat” to the National Aviation Museum and is a must see.

What you are able to do through this (horde of) information is to get a glimpse, learn and be able to walk or study (or both) the overall information for what Pensacola is, was and continues to grow to be. Pensacola can be simply defined as AWESOME! Have fun, learn, be patient and never forget that WE are one nation under GOD ALMIGHTY!

Whether wanted or needed… choose your point of interest, of information... or both. Get “educated” in Pensacola so you can have a better understanding of our history and enjoy so much more.

America’s  1    Settlement 

It went like this. Pensacola, in 1779, was the capital of British West Florida (pictured below to the right).

A Spaniard named Bernardo de Gálvez was an aristocrat who was Governor of Louisiana from 1777-1781. He had proven his skills as a soldier

and military leader in campaigns at Portugal and New Spain. As the Spanish governor of the Louisianna Territory's, Bernardo de Gálvez was an

important friend to the American Colonist. In the early years of the Revolution, Gálvez provided aid to the Patriot cause by allowing tons of supplies

to be shipped up the Mississippi to patriot forces in the north.

When Spain became an official ally to the American Revolutionaries in 1779, ​Bernardo de Gálvez raised a patchwork of a 3000 man multinational force of troops and 32 ships to seize British West Florida. He led this multinational force of troops from New Orleans, taking back territories from

Great Britain in English forts and outposts along the Gulf Coast in Baton Rouge and Nachez in 1779 and Mobile in 1780. The 32 (Gálvez led) ships

entered Pensacola Bay with forces of some of the country’s most elite regiments with his own Spanish regulars (Cajuns), the Hibernian Regiment

with Grenadiers, Dragoons and Rangers (of the Louisiana Regiment), a company of very well trained Irish soldiers, (about) 800 Creoles (French),

Mulatto, Indians and non-slave Africans.

Gálvez and his fleet slipped into the bay and making land access in Bayou Chico. They did this smoothly and quietly, without raising British awareness of their landfall. After making landfall the Spanish prepared trenches and batteries from which to attack the British forces. The British forces compiled of the following: the elite British 60th and 16th Foot Brigades, Pennsylvania Loyalist, Maryland Loyalist and the 3rd Waldeck Regiment of German Mercenaries. Upon being aware of the eminent danger of the battle, the British requested that the town not be attacked and the women, children and sick be allowed sanctuary in the waterfront stockade. The British request was to keep the battle within the areas of the forts and redoubts. This request was honored by Bernardo de Gálvez.

As the battle progressed, a grenade from a Spanish howitzer exploded the powder magazine at Queen Anne’s Redoubt (as can be seen in the painting below) located on the northern side of Gage Hill served as one of two advanced redoubts to Fort George. Queen Anne’s Redoubt consisted of a parapet surrounded by a protective ditch. The side facing Fort George was stockaded. The Prince of Wales Redoubt consisted of a hat-shaped parapet surrounded by protective ditches. It measured 275 feet at its widest point. It was located north northwest of modern-day intersection Spring and Cervantes Streets.

King Carlos III

​1716 - 1788



Notice above, the states of Alabama and Mississippi do not yet exist and Georgia was all that was north of Florida. 

​The ONLY thing west of the Florida Territory was the Louisiana Territory. 

Here is a little known fact, Florida has NOT always been bordered as it is known of today!


Both of the images below are from the 4th of July Fireworks Show in Downtown Pensacola 

pensacola then & now 1559-2020

The Emanuel Point Shipwreck Site is a historic site on the southeastern side of Pensacola, Florida. Look at the lower portion of the map shown above and you can see where it is located. The sunken historic “treasure” is located off Emanuel Point. A more close definition of the area is in Pensacola Bay andjust to the immediate east of Bayou Texar (te-har, of the Spanish dialect… not Tex-are from an English dialect)and Escambia Bay. It is part of the East Pensacola Heights neighborhood. It has been identified as the San Juan, a galleon of the fleet that carried conquistador Tristan de Luna and his army to La Flora (Florida) in 1559. The San Juan was sunk along with most of the fleet by a hurricane shortly after Luna's arrival. On March 4, 1996, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

 The above is the Tatton-Wright Map of the New World, 1600, showing the Spanish settlements along the coast of La Flora (Florida).

The Captain of the Sebastian ported Pensacola on June 3rd through the 9th for the anniversary.

The so titled, Juan Sebastian de Elcano initiated a 21-gun salute in honor of Pensacola's 450th anniversary in 2009.

Now, on to the next bit of side bar history connecting to the American Indians and their deep rooted past in America. The word/name of Alabama is actually a tribe of Indian that has ties to the Creek Indian tribe. Muscogee (part of the Creek) tribe, resided just below the confluence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers on the upper reaches of the Alabama River, served as the etymological source of the names of the river and state. The word Alabama is believed to have originated from the Choctaw language (apportioned to the Creek Indians) and was later adopted by the tribe, there in as their name. The spelling of the word Alabama, as we know it today, varies significantly between sources. The first usage appears in three accounts of the Hernando de Soto expedition of 1540 with Garcilasso de la Vega using Alibamo. There are about 8 other spellings that are describing the same people. It is now, generally, accepted that the word comes from the Choctaw words Alba (meaning "plants" or "weeds") and amo (meaning "to cut", "to trim", or "to gather"). The result in translation is "clearers of the thicket" or even "herb gatherers".  This may refer to the clearing of land for the purpose of planting crops or the collection of medicinal plants by medicine men. The Creek Tribe has built a very popular and nice vacation type spot for their casino on their reservation, so named Wind Creek Casino, as seen below.

*** Click THEN & NOW 3 to get more history regarding Doc Holliday's stay in Pensacola, and a bit more from Andrew Jackson. ***

Side Note: If you have ever watched the 1990's movie “Tombstone”, there is a scene where his name is mentioned by Billy Clanton (actor Thomas Haden Church). Here you go, "Stephen Foster ..... 'Oh, Susannah', 'Camptown Races'..... Stephen stinking Foster." This was regarding a song being played on a saloon piano by Doc Holiday 

actor Val Kilmer) and no the song being sung wasn't “Suwanee River” or otherwise titled as “Old Folks at Home” in 1851End of side note

Escambia County, Florida was created in 1821. Escambia County was created by the Territorial Legislature of the United States on July 22, 1821 to be Florida’s first county, a distinction it shares with St. John’s County. But, Escambia was First County and due to Pensacola’s location it became the location of first State Capital of Florida. General Andrew Jackson was appointed the first Governor for the state by President James Monroe and was titled Military Governor, as no election took place. Its name originates from the Escambia River, whose name in turn comes from a Spanish word for "barter" or "exchange." Escambia County and St. Johns County were Florida's original two counties with the Suwannee River being the boundary between the two. 


The Viceroy, on hearing of their sufferings, sent two vessels to their relief in November, promising more ample aid in the spring. The provisions they obtained saved them from starvation during the winter, but in the spring their condition became as desperate as ever. No attempt seems to have been made to cultivate the Indian fields, or to raise anything for their own support. At this juncture Angel de Villafafane's fleet entered the harbor. He announced to the people that he was on his way to Santa Elena, which Tristan de Luna had made an ineffectual effort to reach. All who chose were at liberty to accompany him. The desire to evacuate the country where they had suffered so severely was universal. None expressed a wish to remain, and Tristan de Luna, seeing himself utterly abandoned, embarked for Havana with a few servants. Villafafane then took on board all except a detachment of fifty or sixty men who were left at Bahía Santa María de Filipina. Captain Biedma, with orders to remain for five to six months: at the expiration of which time they were to sail away also, in case no instructions came. Villafafane with the ship “San Juan” and three other vessels and about two hundred men, put into Havana, but their many of the men deserted and several officers refused to proceed. The remaining 50 at Pensacola were taken back to Mexico, and the Viceroy's advisers concluded northwest Florida (La Flora) was too dangerous to settle, for 135 years. Juan Enríquez Barroto and Antonio Romero visited Pensacola Bay in February 1686. Barroto and Romero had orders from the King to survey essentially the entire northern Gulf coast from San Marcos de Apalache (near Tallahassee) westward, looking for the new French "lost colony" of René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle (which was found at Matagorda Bay, Texas in 1689). The diary of their Ensign Juan Jordán de Reina recorded that Native Americans in the region around Pensacola Bay called the area "Panzacola" after the Panzacola Indians of the area, and he judged the bay, "the best that I have ever seen in my life." In 1698, Don Andres D'Arriola resettled at Santa Rosa Island as a permanent colony. Original name was Santa Maria de Galve. There was constant turmoil between French and Spanish and the Indians, and the settlement was burned in 1719

The following are the pictures of the gentlemen listed above and in the same order as chronologically proven in history. 

In the previous pictures you can see, almost exactly, what was seen upon the arrival of Don Tristan de Luna y Arellano and his fleet. This being the sea life, the beaches, the flowers and the overall terrain. In 1559, Don Tristan de Luna y Arellano led the first settlement of the region. His venture began from Vera Cruz, Mexico. His 11 ships, with 1500 settlers, i.e.; soldiers, women, children, African workers, and Aztec Indians, entered Pensacola Bay to settle the area for Spain. Tristan de Luna had the ships anchor in the bay and established its colony on the site of today's Naval Air Station Pensacola and Tristan de Luna named the bay Bahía Santa María de Filipina. This painting depicts Tristan de Luna upon his landing.

A few weeks later the colony was decimated by a hurricane, killing hundreds, sinking 5 ships, grounding a caravel and ruining supplies. The 1,000 survivors divided to relocate/resupply the settlement, but due to famine and attacks, the effort was abandoned in 1561. About 240 people of the expedition sailed to Santa Elena (today's Parris Island, South Carolina), but another storm hit there, so they sailed to Cuba and scattered.