Pensacola, Florida

Pensacola is Florida's westernmost municipality located in what is called the Florida Panhandle. The city borders Alabama and is Escambia County's county seat. The population of the city in 2010 was just under 54,000 and the city is the principle city in the Pensacola - Brent - Ferry Pass Statistical Area. The area consists of just over 455,000 residents as of 2010.

Pensacola is bordered to its south by the Gulf of Mexico and is one of Florida's larger ports. Close to Pensacola in Warrington, is the first Naval Air Station in the United States. The famous Blue Angels that conducts flight shows are based at that station. Just north of the city center is the University of West Florida.

The City is nicknamed "The City of Five Flags." This is for the five countries that have at one time or another flown their flags over the city. Those flags include the Confederate States of America, Great Britain, France, Spain and of course the United States. Some say it is Pensacola that has the Whitest Beaches in the world. The Panhandle of Florida that runs along the Gulf Coast from Tampa Bay northwest to Pensacola has some of the whitest beaches in the United States.

Pensacola is an attractive city for both local residents as well as tourists. There are intriquing options in entertainment, education, affordable living and many other benefits the city offers its residents. The city is known for its ambient social atmosphere and its lively residents.

Pensacola History

One of the first sites to be inhabited by European colonies in the United States was in the Pensacola area. Native Americans were the first to live in the area of Pensacola Bay. When the Spanish arrived, a Muskogean tribe was living in the region. Recorded history for the area started in the 16th century. The first Spanish explorers began arriving between 1528 and 1539.

In 1559, eleven ships from Mexico arrived in Pensacola Bay with over 1,400 people. The purpose was to have an outpost established. A hurricane decimated the settlement in 1559 killing hundreds, sinking five ships and ruining supplies. The group eventually left and the settlement was abandoned and word went back to Mexico that the northern part of Florida was too dangerous to live. That opinion carried on for over 135 years.

Once the French starting exploring the area around the lower part of the Mississippi River in the latter part of the 17th century, the French became worried about their lands in Mexico and Florida and in 1698 built a fortified outpost where Fort Barrancas is today and was the foundation for Pensacola.

Eventually the Spanish ceded to Britain the area of Florida in 1763 because of the French and India War and the new colony of West Florida was formed, with Pensacola its capital. Spain captured the city during the American Revolution and following the war, Britain ceded the area of East and West Florida back to Spain.

Then in 1819, the United States and Spain signed the Adams-Onis Treaty which called for Spain to sell Florida to the United States for the sum of $5 million. Then in 1821, Pensacola officially was annexed as part of the United States with provisional governor Andrew Jackson at the helm.

Following the Civil War the area was mainly Republican and had a number of politicians who were African American. They even had a mayor who was African American. However all that changed in 1884 when an ex-Confederate General Edward Perry took helm as mayor and dissolved the existing government and handpicked all their successors.

The city stayed Democratic for over a century until the late 1970s when the tide started to change. In 1994, a Republican became the representative for the first district. Since that time right up until present day, the Republicans have enjoyed a majority not only of the local's representatives but also in registered voters.

Over 65% of Escambia County where Pensacola is located voted to reelect George W. Bush. The last time a Democratic was supported in Pensacola, for president, was in 1960 when John Kennedy won the local vote in Pensacola.

About Pensacola, Florida

Pensacola is well known throughout the United States and abroad for its tourism. The city holds a number of festivals that attract hundreds of thousands of tourists to the city bringing a great deal of money to the businesses that call Pensacola home. Besides the numerous attractive festivals, many events are also held throughout the year.

The city also boasts numerous landmarks and historical buildings that attract a number of tourists that visit each year. One of the longest running festivals held each year is the Pensacola Crawfish Festival, which has been held for over 30 years in the downtown historic center. The festival has live music and a myriad of different dishes of prepared crawfish.

The Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival in held each year in November and attracts over 200 artists from the area and abroad. The Children's Art Festival is also held each year and features art by students for the city's schools.

The city has neighborhoods dating back to the 18th century and walking tours are offered in the different neighborhoods. Pensacola is very proud to have the Vietnam Veteran's Wall South as well as a number of different military installations that go back as far as the Civil War. Fort Pickens still stands and was once the prison where Geronimo was held.

The Pensacola area is home to many different venues for performances. The Pensacola Civic Center entertains the larger events while Seanger Theater is used for events and shows that are smaller. Other venues used for live performances include Pensacola Little Theatre, University of West Florida, Pensacola Junior College and Loblolly Theater. The city also boasts the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra, the Pensacola Choral Society and the Pensacola Opera.

The city hosts a number of sports teams that are semi-professional. The Pensacola Lightning is a National Arena Football League team, The Pensacola Pelicans baseball team, The Pensacola Ice Flyers Hockey team and the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, anther baseball team.

The largest paper in the city is the Pensacola News Journal. Its offices are downtown and the owner is Gannett Company one of the larger news companies in the United States. The Pensacola Independent News is a weekly publication as well.

The West Florida Regional Library has five different libraries all located in the Pensacola area. There are books of all kinds including non-fiction, fiction, magazines, books on CD or cassette, DVD, and music. There is public access to computers, materials for children are available and a variety of different reading materials.

About Escambia County, Florida

Escambia County is Florida's westernmost county and borders the state of Alabama. The population in 2010 was over 297,000 per the U.S. census. That was just a slight increase over the 2005 population of just less than 297,000.

Pensacola is the county seat of Escambia. Native Americans inhabited the area of Escambia for centuries and at the time the first European settlements started the Native Americans were the Creek. The county received its name for the Escambia River which some say comes from the Creek word Shambia or clear water. The first two counties in Florida were St. Johns and Escambia. The two counties are separated by the Suwannee River.

The county consists of 875 square miles with 662 square miles of land and 213 of water. Also included in the county is the lovely island of Santa Rosa. Counties surrounding Escambia are Santa Rosa County to the east, Escambia County, Alabama to the north and Baldwin County, Alabama to the west.

Where the two states border meets is quite unusual since both counties are named the same. There are only three other places in the entire United States where that happens: Bristol counties in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, Sabin Parish Louisiana and Sabine County Texas, and Union Parish, Louisiana and Union County, Arkansas.

The government of Escambia County consists of a Board of Commissioners that has five members. Each of the members represents one of the county's five districts. The County Commissioners are in charge of appointing a County Administrator as the CAO of the county. The Escambia County Sheriff's office carries out the law enforcement for the county.

Escambia County is located on the Gulf of Mexico and experiences very strong weather during the year. During hurricane season there is always the possibility of hurricanes striking the Florida Panhandle and Pensacola.

Hurricanes have crossed over the state east to west, entered the Gulf of Mexico gained strength and hit Pensacola. There have also been cases of hurricanes forming in the Gulf of Mexico and making landfall near Pensacola. Pensacola suffered a low tourist season in 2010 following the BP oil spill in the Gulf.