Presidio San Miguel de Panzacola

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The Presidio San Miguel de Panzacola was a Spanish settlement that was established in 1756 as the successor of the Presidio Isla de Santa Rosa, which had been destroyed by a hurricane in 1752. The name "San Miguel" referred to Saint Michael the Archangel, and "Panzacola" was an Indian word had been used to refer to the bay. This presidio was the first colony in the area of modern-day downtown Pensacola; previous European settlements had been located near the Barrancas de Santo Tomé or on Punta de Sigüenza.

The presidio was built around Fuerte San Miguel, a small outpost built in the 1740s. When a hurricane hit the area on November 3, 1752, the Presidio Isla de Santa Rosa was severely damaged. The Spanish forces on Santa Rosa Island began shifting their presence to the mainland, erecting new buildings around the San Miguel blockhouse, but official orders to move were not received until 1756. Originally to be known as the Presidio San Miguel de las Amarillas, after the viceroy of New Spain, the Marqués de la Amarillas, it was renamed San Miguel de Panzacola by order of the king in 1757.

A new commandant, Col. Miguel Román de Castilla y Lugo, arrived early in 1757. Construction of a new stockade began on August 30, built on the site of the old outpost. Progress was hurried along by reports that Talapoosa Indians were planning an attack. Before long the presidio contained solders' barracks and houses, a warehouse, church and hospital, and Pensacola's first brick building, the governor's house. A larger, double stockade fort called the Castillo de Santa Barbara was planned, but the location is unknown.

Following the transition to British rule in 1763, the Fort at Pensacola was built on the site of the presidio.


  • Judith Ann Bense, editor. Archaeology of Colonial Pensacola. University Press of Florida, 1999.