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Pensacola: City of Five Flags


The Spanish explorer, Tristan de Luna y Arellano and his colonists settled on Pensacola Bay in 1559. This ill-fated fort was gone by 1561. Arriola fortified Pensacola in 1698. After a great naval battle in 1719, Pensacola surrendered to France, but was returned to Spain in 1723. Florida was then given to England in by Spain in exchange for Havana in 1763.

The botanist William Bartram explored Florida from 1773-1774. During the American Revolution, Florida remained loyal to England (1775-1781) and British Loyalists streamed to Florida from the rebellious colonies. Bernado Galvez captured Pensacola in 1781 and West Florida was evacuated by the British.

Florida was given to Spain by England in exchange for the Bahamas and Gibraltar in 1783, then the Loyalist left for Bahamas, Newfoundland and other English areas, though some went to Charleston, South Carolina.

In 1803, the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory and claimed West Florida. The British occupied Pensacola and Andrew Jackson drove them out in 1813. Andrew Jackson became the first governor of the Florida territories in 1822.

In 1824-1826, a road was built from St. Augustine to Pensacola. and the Pensacola Navy Yard was under construction. Florida became a state in 1845; Escambia County divided and Santa Rosa County was formed.

Florida seceded from the Union, January 10, 1861. In 1862, the Confederate troops evacuated Pensacola. and the city government of Pensacola was moved to Greenville, Butler County, Alabama.

During 1870s, the railroads made Pensacola the Hub City. The timber and naval stores industry strived. The Pensacola Navy Yard became the Pensacola Naval Air Station in 1914. World War I & II increased the military presence in the Pensacola area.


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