Pensacola History

Fun facts about Pensacola Bay Area history

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island cross Pensacola Beach
The island cross marks the location of the first Catholic mass in what is now the United States.
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Spanish sailor Don Tristan de Luna arrived in Pensacola on Aug. 15, 1559, establishing the first European settlement in the United States. One month later, a hurricane destroyed supplies, eventually causing the Spanish to flee the area.

In 1698, Fort San Carlos de Austria became the first permanent settlement in Northwest Florida. Remains of the fort can be found at Naval Air Station Pensacola.

Having been ruled by Spain, France, Britain, the Confederacy and the United States, Pensacola has earned the nickname “City of Five Flags.”

Emmanuel Point II is the second-oldest shipwreck in the country. Discovered in 2007 by University of West Florida archaeology students, the ship belonged to Spanish sailor Don Tristan de Luna’s expedition, dating back to 1559.

The first Catholic Mass in the United States was held on Pensacola Beach shortly after the sailors arrived in August 1559.

Pensacola was the original capital of Florida, and it was here that Gen. Andrew Jackson changed flags with Spanish Governor Jose Callava, bringing West Florida under the control of the United States.

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