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Details about European colonization in the U.S. and Pensacola history.

Selected Chronology of European Colonization in the Southeastern U.S.

  • 1492: The first Christopher Columbus expedition reaches the Bahamas and Greater Antilles.
  • 1513: The first Juan Ponce de León expedition reaches Florida and explores its southern coastlines.
  • 1521: The second Juan Ponce de León expedition attempts to establish a colony near Fort Myers, Florida. The colony is repulsed by Calusa Indians and withdraws; Ponce dies in Havana from a mortal arrow wound.
  • 1526: The Lúcas Vázquez de Ayllón expedition attempts to establish a colony along the Atlantic coast of Georgia. Ayllón dies and the colony lasts only a few weeks before the survivors withdraw to the Caribbean.
  • 1528: The Pánfilo de Narváez expedition unintentionally lands near Tampa Bay after storms blow the fleet off their original course to settle along the northwestern Gulf of Mexico; the expedition members attempt to travel westward across Florida’s Gulf Coast by land and then sea, but nearly all, including Narváez, are lost along the way.
  • 1539-1543: The Hernando de Soto expedition lands at Tampa Bay and pushes north to Tallahassee and inland, exploring much of the southeastern U.S. Soto dies along the way and the survivors finally make their way to Mexico. Francisco Maldonado, one of Soto’s lieutenants, makes annual resupply expeditions from Havana to Pensacola Bay, known then as Ochuse, but he never meets the expedition.
  • 1549: Dominican priest Fray Luís Cancer, three other priests and one lay brother attempt to establish a purely religious settlement in Florida, landing in Tampa Bay. Cancer and two others are murdered before the expedition withdraws back to Veracruz, Mexico.
  • 1559-1561: The Tristán de Luna y Arellano expedition establishes a colonial settlement at Pensacola Bay, originally in an effort to push inland to Coosa and finally to Santa Elena on the South Carolina Coast. The destruction of the fleet by a hurricane dooms the expedition, which finally withdraws two years later.
  • 1562-1565: Successive French expeditions under Jean Ribault and René de Laudonnière establish short-lived colonial settlements at Charlesfort at Santa Elena and at Fort Caroline near Jacksonville, Florida, but the former is abandoned and the latter is conquered by the Spanish.
  • 1565: Pedro Menéndez de Avilés establishes St. Augustine as the first successful and ultimately permanent Spanish colony in the U.S.
  • 1585-1587: Walter Raleigh’s expeditions establish shortlived English colonial settlements at Roanoke on the coast of North Carolina.
  • 1607: English Jamestown is established by the Virginia Company of London.

Brief Chonology of the Tristán de Luna y Arellano Expedition

  • June 11, 1559: The Luna fleet departs from San Juan de Ulua (Veracruz).
  • July 12, 1559: The fleet reaches the coast of Florida a tSanta Rosa Island near modern Navarre Beach.
  • Late July, 1559: Accidentally passing the Bay of Ochuse (Pensacola Bay), the fleet reaches the Bay of Filipina(Mobile Bay), offloading surviving horses to travel by landback to Ochuse.
  • August 14, 1559: The fleet arrives at the Bay of Ochuse (Pensacola Bay), selecting a site for settlement (christened Santa María de Ochuse) and offloading ships over the following five weeks.
  • September 1559: An exploratory detachment of 100 men under two captains is sent into the interior from Ochuse,one by land and the other by water up the Escambia River, returning after traveling 20 leagues in 20 days and arriving just after the hurricane.
  • September 19-20, 1559: A hurricane strikes the fleet at Ochuse, destroying all but three vessels and most of the provisions.
  • September-November 1559: A detachment of 200 men under four captains is sent back into the interior from Ochuse, discovering a large Indian town called Nanipacana along the central Alabama River some 40 leagues inland, remaining there and sending word back to Ochuse.
  • December 1559: The first relief fleet arrives in Ochuse from San Juan de Ulua.
  • Mid February, 1560: Luna and most of the remaining colonists move inland by land and water from Ochuseto Nanipacana (christened Santa Cruz de Nanipacana), leaving 50-100 men at Ochuse.
  • Mid March-Early April, 1560: Luna sends a detachment in four boats upriver from Nanipacana, returning in 22 days after traveling 60-70 leagues along the Alabama River.
  • April 15, 1560: Luna sends a detachment of 200 soldiers under Sergeant Major Mateo del Sauz upriver from Nanipacana to the Coosa province (near Calhoun, Georgia) in search of food.
  • June 24, 1560: After multiple petitions from starving soldiers and other colonists, Luna orders Nanipacana abandoned, and colonists descend to Mobile Bay.
  • Late July, 1560: Luna’s colonists move from Mobile Bay back to Ochuse on Pensacola Bay; a second relief fleet arrives in Ochuse eight days later; some colonists are evacuated with the returning fleet.
  • August 10, 1560: Luna dispatches 50-60 men in two frigates and a bark to sail to Havana and proceeds to establish a temporary settlement at the Punta de Santa Elena (Parris Island, South Carolina).
  • Late August, 1560: The Sauz detachment accompanies Coosa warriors in a raid on the rebellious Napochin province (near Chattanooga, Tennessee).
  • About November, 1560: The Sauz detachment returns to Ochuse from Coosa.
  • December 1560: A third relief fleet arrives in Ochuse from San Juan de Ulua; more colonists are evacuated with the returning fleet.
  • Early April, 1561: A fourth relief fleet arrives under Angelde Villafañe, with orders from the Viceroy to replace Luna as governor; Luna is licensed to go to Spain, with most of the remaining colonists taken by Villafañe to Havana, leaving only a detachment of 50 men at Ochuse.
  • May 27, 1561: After staging the expedition in Havana,Villafañe reaches Santa Elena, exploring northward before storms and the loss of two frigates force him to abandon the settlement.
  • Late August, 1561: After returning to Hispaniola and Cuba, Villafañe returns to Ochuse to pick up the remaining soldiers before returning to San Juan de Ulua.

Brief Chonology of Pensacola's History Starting with the Luna Settlement

  • 1559: A Spanish expedition from Veracruz, Mexico, led by Tristán de Luna y Arellano forms a colony in Pensacola and names it Santa María de Ochuse. The settlement is disbanded after two years.
  • 1698: A Spanish expedition from Veracruz, Mexico, led by Andrés de Arriola forms a new settlement, this time at the future location of NAS Pensacola. The new settlement is named Presidio Santa María de Galve and consists of a fort, church and village.
  • 1719: French forces capture Santa Maria de Galve during the War of the Quadruple Alliance.
  • 1722: After the end of the War of the Quadruple Alliance, the Pensacola area is returned to Spanish control. A new presidio is established on Santa Rosa Island and named Isla de Santa Rosa, Punta de Sigüenza.
  • 1752: Presidio Isla de Santa Rosa is destroyed by a hurricane.
  • 1756: The Spanish settlement relocates and forms Presidio San Miguel de Panzacola in the future location of downtown Pensacola.
  • 1763: Florida, including San Miguel de Panzacola, is transferred to British control after the end of the Seven Years War. Britain renames the location Pensacola and establishes it as capital of British West Florida.
  • 1781: Spain captures Pensacola from the British in the Battle of Pensacola during the American Revolutionary War.
  • 1783: Florida is officially transferred to Spain in 1783 at the close of the American Revolution via the Treaty of Paris. Florida becomes Spanish territory for the second time.
  • 1814: During the War of 1812, British ships seek refuge in Pensacola Bay. United States General Andrew Jackson storms and captures Pensacola with 3,000 soldiers. Britain retreats and Pensacola returns to Spanish control.
  • 1821: Florida is transferred to the United States via the Adams-Onis Treaty. Andrew Jackson takes possession of Florida on July 17, 1821, in Plaza Ferdinand VII in Pensacola.
  • 1861: Florida secedes from the Union and joins the Confederacy. The Battle of Santa Rosa Island occurs on Oct. 9, 1861, marking the first major Civil War battle in Florida. Union troops hold Fort Pickens for the entirety of the war.
  • 1862: Pensacola surrenders to the Union army on May 10, 1862 as confederate troops evacuate.
  • 1865: Florida formally surrenders to the Union on May 20, 1865.
  • 1868: Florida is readmitted to the Union on June 25, 1868.