Historical Tid-Bit

Where was the first European settlement in what is now the United States?

  • 1493 Christopher Columbus (of Italy, sailing under the Spanish flag) lands in Puerto Rico;
  • 1513 Juan Ponce de León (of Spain) sites Santa Rosa Island, explores Florida;
  • 1516 Don Diego Miruelo (of Spain) explores Santa Rosa Island and sails into Pensacola Bay (Poloza or Ochuse);
  • 1538 Pánfilo de Narváez (of Spain) explores Northwest Florida.
  • 1539 Hernando de Soto explores Northwest Florida.
  • 1559 (15 August) Tristan de Luna (of Spain) founded a settlement on Santa Rosa Island and christens Pensacola Bay as Bahía Santa María de Filipina (the settlement is abandoned in 1561 due to severe storms, famines, and conflicts with natives);
  • 1564 (22 June) Jean Ribault (of France) founded Fort Caroline (Jacksonville, Florida).
  • 1565 (28 August) Pedro Menendez de Aviles (of Spain) founded St Augustine (Florida) and obliterated Fort Caroline (and replaced it with a Spanish fort);
  • 1607 the British found Jamestown (Virgina);
  • 1624 the Dutch found New Amsterdam (New York City, New York);
  • 1638 the Swedes found New Sweden (along the Delaware River, south of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania);
  • 1686 (February) Juan Enríquez Barroto (of France) and Antonio Romero (of France) survey the entire northern Gulf coast from San Marcos de Apalache westward looking for the French “lost colony” naming Pensacola “Panzacola” after the Panzacola Indians.
  • 1693 (April) General Andrés de Pez (of Mexico/Spain) and Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora (of Spain) explores the north Gulf coast from Pensacola Bay to the mouth of the Mississippi River and re-christen Pensacola Bay as Bahía Santa María de Galve as well as discovering the East River and Blackwater River.
  • 1695 Andrés de Arriola (of Spain) inspects the mouth of the Mississippi River and Pensacola Bay (his reports of the Pensacola don’t portrait it as a paradise as did those of Pez-Sigüenza).
  • 1696 Spanish found Pensacola (Florida); destroyed and abandoned.
  • 1698 Spanish re-settle Pensacola (Florida) under the direction of the first governor Andrés de Arriola;
  • 1719 (14 May) Governor of French Louisiana, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, took Pensacola in the name of France.
  • 1722 the French retreat and burn the Pensacola; the Spanish rebuild;
  • 1733 Spanish found Saint Marks (San Marcos de Apalache; Wakulla county Florida);
  • 1752 a hurricane destroys Pensacola, the Spanish rebuild;
  • 1761 a hurricane destroys Pensacola, the Spanish rebuild;
  • 1757 King Ferdinand VI (of Spain) issues a royal order establishing the name of the area as “Panzacola”.
  • 1763 the British take control of Penscola under the terms of the Treaty or Paris; Pensacola is made the capital of British West Florida and the town was laid out in its current form around the Seville Square district (by surveyor and engineer Elias Durnford);
  • 1781 the Spanish recapture Pensacola;
  • 1813 General Andrew Jackson (of US) invades Pensacola;
  • 1814 General Andrew Jackson (of US) invades Pensacola;
  • 1818 General Andrew Jackson (of US) invades Pensacola;
  • 1821 the Adams-Onis Tready cedes all of Spanish Florida to the United State;
  • 1825 Pensacola Navy Yard founded and a lighthouse constructed;
  • 1861 (10 January) Florida secedes from the Union and Pensacola becomes part of the Confederate States of America;
  • 1865 (25 June) Florida is readmitted to the Union after the ravages of war and Reconstruction;

So the answer would be — Santa Rosa Island, Florida… and if you want the site of the first continuously occupied European settlement that would be St Augustine, Florida.

However, keep in mind that the US (and both North American and South America) was “discovered” over 15,000 years ago.  The first residents crossed Beringia into Alaska, and there’s some archaeological evidence that suggests there may have been residents here even before that.

Originally posted 2010-03-21 15:48:22.