Oldest Settlement In America

Pensacola, Florida was my first home in the sunshine state when I joined the Navy many years ago.  

Pensacola is not only a historic town, it is a military town as well.

Naval Air Station Pensacola and other military operations in the area are a key component of the town's culture and economy.


The name Pensacola came from the Spanish word for the Indians they found in this area in the 1500's when Panfilo de Narvaez and Hernando de Soto were stomping around.

Pensacola, Florida celebrated its 450th birthday in 2009.

Tristan de Luna y Arellano came to Pensacola in 1559 with 1400 people on 11 ships to settle the area. A giant hurricane came along shortly after they landed and killed hundreds of people.

The Spanish decided not to settle northwest Florida for a while and abandoned the area for more than 100 years.

Pensacola Harbor Scene

Spain ceded Florida to the British in 1763, but Britain gave it back after the Revolutionary War. Finally Spain sold Florida to the United States and Pensacola was in the United States as of 1821.

Pensacola's strategic location on the northern Gulf Coast has helped make it an important military city. Locals refer to Pensacola as "The Cradle of Naval Aviation", since Naval Air Station Pensacola was the first naval aviation training base set up by the Navy in 1914.

Thousands of naval aviators got their training at NAS Pensacola, and the Navy's aerobatic squadron known as the Blue Angels is based in Pensacola.

Things To Do In Pensacola Florida

The National Museum of Naval Aviation is a great place to visit on the base, and is free to the public. The museum is home to hundreds of historic and modern aircraft.

National Museum of Naval Aviation

Other interesting places to visit include Fort Barrancas and Fort Pickens where poor old Geronimo was held as a prisoner many years ago.

In addition to the military presence, Pensacola Florida has many annual art and music festivals, historic tours and ancient restored neighborhoods from the earliest days of its settlement.

The Pensacola Seafood Festival and the Pensacola Crawfish Festival are held each year at Seville Square in the heart of downtown.

The Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival is also held each year in November and attracts more than 200 artists.

Pensacola and St. Augustine continually compete for the title of most ancient city in America. Pensacola is actually a tad older, but St. Augustine touts itself as being the oldest "continuously occupied" city in America.

The video below by Holden Hardman shows Pensacola as it was 100 years ago and how it is in 2017.  It is one of several such videos he produced and published on Youtube.


As Florida's oldest city, the State of Florida has designated many heritage sites in the area.

  • Alger--Sullivan Lumber Company Residential Historic District
  • Barkley House
  • Barrancas National Cemetery
  • Big Lagoon State Park
  • British Fort of Pensacola
  • Charles William Jones House
  • Crystal Ice Co. Building
  • Dorr House
  • Escambia County Courthouse
  • Fort Barrancas Historical District
  • Fort George Site
  • Fort McRee
  • Fort Pickens
  • Fort San Carlos de Barrancas
  • Greater Mount Lily Baptist Church
  • Gulf Islands National Seashore
  • Historic Pensacola Village
  • Julee Cottage Museum
  • L & N Marine Terminal Building
  • L & N Passenger Terminal
  • Lavalle House
  • National Museum of Naval Aviation
  • North Hill Preservation District
  • Old Christ Church
  • Pensacola Historic District
  • Pensacola Historical Museum
  • Pensacola Hospital
  • Pensacola Lighthouse and Keepers Quarters
  • Pensacola Naval Air Station Historic District
  • Pensacola Resource Learning Center and Library
  • Pensacola Scenic Bluffs Scenic Highway
  • Perdido Key Historic District
  • Perdido Key State Park
  • Plaza Ferdinand VII
  • Saenger Theatre
  • St. Joseph's Church Buildings
  • St. Michael's Creole Benevolent Association Meeting Hall
  • The Empire Building
  • Thiesen Building
  • USS Massachusetts

Pensacola Beach is a short hop across the waterway and has some of the finest white sand beaches in Florida.




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