British Fort of Pensacola


In early 1990, an unprecedented concentration of Colonial features and artifacts associated with the Colonial forts in Pensacola were uncovered as the pavement was being removed from streets in the Historic District of Pensacola for an urban renewal project. Among these Colonial features were a British field cannon, the architectural remnants near the main gate of the British fort (1763-1781), stockade lines and wall trenches of the later Spanish fort (1781-1821) and the first complete architectural foundation of an early Spanish period (1752-1763) building. National media coverage of the discovery and the public's intense interest in their cultural heritage was encouraging to archaeologists. People got excited as they realized that the gate through which Andrew Jackson walked (on his way to meet with the Spanish Governor Callava for the transfer of the territory from Spain to the United States) on July 17, 1821 was now below their feet. Hundreds of volunteers helped Dr. Bense, John Phillips, and archaeology students from UWF in the excavations. After minimal damage to the archaeological remains, the site was reburied for protection.

In 1993, excavations resumed around Ferdinand Plaza and the T.T. Wentworth Museum in downtown Pensacola as Phase II of the Pensacola Archaeological Trail began. This is the area of the far western side of the British Fort of Pensacola. When the British took West Florida from Spain in 1763, they began to build their own fort around the run down Spanish Presidio in the Plaza Ferdinand. Present day Seville Square was a cleared area just to the east of the British fort and Ferdinand Plaza of today was the open area to the west of the British fort. The evolution of the British Fort of Pensacola may be seen through maps ranging from 1763, just after occupation by the British, until 1778, only three years before the Spanish recaptured Pensacola.

Maps of the fort in 1763, 1764, 1767 and 1778 (PDF)