WEST FLORIDA CHRONOLOGICALLY

From "History of Santa Rosa County, A King's County," by M. Luther King. Used with permission.

1497-1512

White men, of whom we have such scant records, have pictured Florida (1502) as a peninsula and Peter Martyr pictured it (1511) as a land of eternal youth near the Bahamas.

1513

Discovery of Florida has usually been credited to Juan Ponce de Leon for April (2-8) during the time of the "Feast of Flowers" (Pascua Florida).

1528

(October) Panfilo de Narvaez was given credit for sailing into Pensacola Bay.

1540

(January) Named Puerto de Auchusi by Capitano Maldonado as he entered what we now know as Pensacola Bay to make it a base of supply for the expedition of Hernando de Soto. (They were to rendezvous there in October.) Soto never kept that rendezvous but had been beguiled away by stories of gold and frightened by gossip that his men would desert him. Maldonado made many trips into the interior and along the coasts, and did not return to Spain until a year and a half after Soto had been buried in the great Mississippi River.

1550

The Viceroy of Mexico and the Bishop of Cuba petitioned Charles V to allow them to establish some new and permanent settlements in Florida to:

  • 1. Bring gold to Imperial treasurer,
  • 2. Extend dominions of His Catholic Majesty,
  • 3. Enlarge the boundaries of the spiritual kingdom, and Puerto de Anchusi was selected as the place for that new settlement.

1559

Don Tristan de Luna, representing Spain, cast anchor in harbor (now Pensacola) which he named Santa Maria. Two thousand colonists were brought.

1564

Rene de Laudoniere (French) built a settlement on the St. Johns River (River of May).

1565

Pedro Menendez de Avilles (Spanish) built a settlement at St. Augustine.

1566

Intensive efforts to convert the Indians to Christianity continued.

1867-68

Dominique de Gourges hanged the garrison at San Mateo "not as Frenchmen but as unbelievers."

1587

Sir Francis Drake burned the settlement of St. Augustine.

1600

Spanish settlements spread throughout all Florida.

1702-03

British raided Spanish settlements, especially East Florida.

1719-20

Bienville captured Pensacola for France.

1740

British under Sir James Oglethorpe raided East Florida.

1763

Spain traded Florida to Britain for Havana, Cuba.

1776-78

Border fighting of Revolutionary War took place along Florida borders.

1781

Spanish retook Florida from the British.

1783

British traded Florida to Spain for Bahama Islands. Florida's first regularly published newspaper, East Florida Gazette, was published at St. Augustine.

1785

Florida became involved again in border disputes.

1810

West Florida became the Republic of West Florida on July 17. The flag was a lone white star in a blue field.

1813

Massacre of Fort Mims occurred August 30. Andrew Jackson captured Pensacola but abandoned it.

1814

The Battle of Horseshoe Bend ended the Creek War on March 27.

1816

Negro fort on Apalachicola was destroyed by a magazine explosion.

1817-19

Gregory McGregor and Luis Aury annexed Amelia Island to Mexico.

1818

Andrew Jackson hanged Arbuthnot and Ambrister, British subjects, at St. Marks.

1819

Negotiations were completed for the cession of Florida to the United States, to be effective in 1821.

1821

Andrew Jackson received Pensacola and West Florida for the United States from Spain July 17, and served as military governor of Florida from July - November.

1822

Civil government began with William P. Duval as governor and a legislative council of thirteen citizens, which held its first meeting at Pensacola and at Gonzalez (or Fifteen Mile House). This meeting was set for June 10, but it was late summer before all the members were able to put in their appearance: Messrs. Law, Reynolds, Hanham, and Gaither were the members from St. Augustine who were delayed by shipwreck. Messrs. Macon, Lytle, and Gibson also were slow in arriving. Henry M. Breckenbridge, who had resigned to become Superior judge for West Florida and Joseph M. White, who had become Land Commissioner, were replaced by Juan de la Rua and Jose Noriega. Richard Keith Call was another member of the council.

1824

Tallahassee was named state capital.

1834

First Railway was Tallahassee and St. Marks.

1838

Arcadia and Blackwater Railway was completed.

1842

The Seminole War ended.

1842

Santa Rosa County was formed February 18.

1845

Florida was admitted to the United States March 3.

1851

Dr. John Gorrie patented process for making artificial ice at Apalachicola.

1855

Internal Improvement Fund created ("swamp and overflowed lands swindle").

1860

First cross-state railway was the Fernandina and Cedar Keys.

1861

Florida withdrew from the Union January 11.

1862

Cedar Keys was captured by the Federals January 6. Forts Barrancas and McRae, railways, sawmills and other industries were destroyed and Pensacola was abandoned by Confederates May 9.

1864

Union Army was defeated at Olustee.

1865

Union Army was defeated at Natural Bridge.

1865

Jesse McLellan and G.B. Dycus were delegates to Constitutional Convention from Santa Rosa County. William Marvin, Wilkinson Call as senators, and McLeod as representative were refused seats by (Thaddeus Stevens') Congress.

1868

New Constitutional Convention and ratification took place. Harrison Reed was elected as governor, Adonijah S. Welch, Abigah Gilbert and Thomas W. Osborn as senators and Charles M. Hamilton as representative to United States Congress.

1876

Disputed election returns in Florida finally gave Rutherford B. Hayes election as president of U.S.

1881

Disston land sale - four million acres at 25c per acre.

1885

New Constitutional Convention called to frame a constitution to replace the "Carpet-bag Constitution" - J.M. Landrew, R.R. Robertson, Hannibal Rowe represented Santa Rosa County.

1887

George McWhorter, Santa Rosa, was one of the members of the first Railroad Commission.

1889

Yellow Fever epidemic resulted in the creation of State Board of Health.

1894-99

Repeated "cold years" with frosts and freezing caused citrus to move southward.

1898

Spanish-American War was fought.

1901

Primary Election Law was passed.

1905

Buckman Act was passed.

1914

First Air-line (first in world) was the Tampa-St. Petersburg (January 1 ).

1917

Naval Aviation base set up in Pensacola.

1921

Florida's first broadcast radio station was WQAM.

1923

Convict-Lease system ended.

1923-26

Land Boom flourished.

1926

"Miami Hurricane" occurred.

1929

Pan American Airways began in Miami.

1932

Santa Rosa County elected Republican office-holder.

1934

Homestead Exemption ($5,000) Law was passed.

1935

"Florida Keys" hurricane occurred.

1937

Poll Tax abolished.

1939

Florida Highway Patrol began.

1940

Florida ad valorem state tax abolished.

1946

World War II ended.

1949

Florida "Stock Law" was passed.

1954

Republican elected as Representative to Washington; six elected to Tallahassee.

1957

New state constitution was proposed.

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