Timeline of Pensacola history

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Pensacola, Florida has had a rich and colorful history dating nearly 450 years, being the first European settlement in the continental United States (1559) and controlled by five countries. Pensacola's location has caused great turmoil, with many buildings destroyed by wars, and by numerous major hurricanes. The location, south 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. Pensacola has been under the possession of the Spanish, French, British, United States and Confederate States, and has remained a part of the United States since the end of the American Civil War.


  • 1513Ponce de Leon 'discovers' Florida.
  • 1516 – Miruelos enters what may be Pensacola Bay.
  • 1525 – Panfilo de Narveaz explores Florida.
  • 1539Hernando de Soto explores Florida.
  • June 11, 1559 – Members of Luna's expedition embark at Vera Cruz, Mexico, for their journey to establish Pensacola.
  • August 14, 1559 – Luna's expedition enters Pensacola Bay.
  • September 19, 1559 – A hurricane strikes Pensacola Bay, virtually destroying Luna's fleet.
  • March 16, 1561Villafane arrives at Pensacola for relief for Luna's expedition after the hurricane of 1559.
  • April 9, 1561 – Villafane becomes governor of Florida.
  • 1565 – St. Augustine, on Florida's east coast, is founded by the Spanish, becoming the first permanent European settlement.


  • April 6, 1682 – La Salle claims Louisiana for France.
  • 1684 – Sieur de la Salle descends the Mississippi River and makes a failed attempt to establish a colony near the mouth of the Mississippi.
  • February 2, 1686 – An expedition under the command of Juan Enriques Barroto (Juan Jordan Reina) enters Pensacola Bay.
  • June 26, 1692Conde de Galve, viceroy of Mexico, is given instructions by the Spanish king to explore the Gulf Coast.
  • April 7, 1693 – Admiral Andres de Pez's expedition enters Pensacola Bay.
  • June 13, 1694 – The King of Spain (Charles II?) gives the go ahead to settle Pensacola.
  • November 6, 1698 – An expedition under Juan Jordan de Reina sails from Havana, Cuba, to settle Pensacola.
  • November 17, 1698 – An expedition under the command of Juan Jordan Reina arrivs at Pensacola.
  • November 21, 1698 – An expedition under the command of Andres de Arriola, arrived in Pensacola from Vera Cruz, Mexico.





  • Appleyard, John, The History of Local Government in Pensacola & Escambia County, Pensacola: 1991
  • Coker, William S. and G. Douglas Inglis, The Spanish Censuses of Pensacola, 1784-1820: A Genealogical Guide to Spanish Pensacola, Perdido Bay Press: 1980
  • Coker, William S. and Thomas D. Watson, Indian Traders of the Southeastern Spanish Borderlands; Panton, Leslie & Company and John Forbes & Company, 1783-1847, University of West Florida Press/ Pensacola: 1986
  • McGovern, James R., editor, Colonial Pensacola, 1974: Pensacola
  • McGovern, James R., The Emergence of a City in the Modern South: Pensacola 1900-1945, Pensacola: 1976
  • Parks, Virginia, editor, Iron Horse in the Pinelands; Building West Floridia's Railroad: 1881-1883, Pensacola Historical Society: 1982
  • Pensacola News-Journal, Sunday, October 2, 1949
  • Pensacola News-Journal, Passport 1995, p. 7.
  • Vicker, Elizabeth D., "A Chronology of Epidemics in Pensacola, Florida, 1764-1995, West Florida Footprints, #14, 1994
  • Wentworth, T. T. Jr., Pensacola Picture Book, #17 in a series .