1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Pensacola
|←Penryn||1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 21
|See also Pensacola, Florida on Wikipedia, and our 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica disclaimer.|
PENSACOLA, a city, port of entry, and the county-seat of Escambia county, Florida, U.S.A., in the N.W. part of the state, on Pensacola Bay, about 6 m. (11 m. by channel) N. of the Gulf of Mexico. Pop. (1900) 17,747; (1910) 22,982. It. ranks second in size among the cities of Florida. The city is served by the Louisville & Nashville and the Pensacola, Alabama & Tennessee railways, and by steamers to West Indian, European and United States ports. The harbour is the most important deep-water harbour south of Hampton Roads. The narrow entrance is easily navigable and is defended by Fort Pickens on the west end of Santa Rosa Island, with a great sea-wall on the Gulf side (completed in 1909), Fort McRee on a small peninsula directly opposite, and Fort Barrancas on the mainland immediately north-east of Fort McRee. On the mainland 1 m. east of Fort Barrancas are a United States Naval Station, consisting of a yard (84 acres enclosed) with shops, a steel floating dry dock and marine barracks; and a reservation (1800 acres) on which are a naval hospital, a naval magazine, two timber ponds, a national cemetery, and the two villages of Warrington and Woolsey, with a population of about 1500, mostly employés of the yard. The city's principal public buildings are the state armoury, the Federal building, and the city hall. The mean annual temperature is about 72° F., and breezes from the Gulf temper the heat. Pensacola is a shipping point for lumber, naval stores, tobacco, phosphate rock, fish, cotton and cotton-seed oil, meal and cake, and is one of the principal markets in the United States for naval stores. In 1895 the foreign exports were valued at $3,196,609, in 1897 at $8,436,679, and in 1909 at $20,971,670; the imports in 1909 were valued at $1,479,017. The important factor in this vast development has been the Louisville & Nashville railway, which after 1895 built extensive warehouses and docks at Pensacola. There are excellent coaling docks—good coal is brought hither from Alabama—and a grain elevator. Among the manufactures are sashes, doors and blinds, whiting, fertilizers, rosin and turpentine, and drugs.
Pensacola Bay may have been visited by Ponce de Leon in 1513 and by Panfilo de Narvaez in 1528. In 1540 Maldonado, the commander of the fleet that brought De Soto to the Florida coast, entered the harbour, which he named Puerta d'Auchusi, and on his recommendation De Soto designated it as a basis of supplies for his expedition into the interior. In 1559 a permanent settlement was attempted by Tristan de Luna, who renamed the harbour Santa Maria, but two years later this settlement was abandoned. In 1696 another settlement was made by Don Andres d'Arriola, who built Fort San Carlos near the site of the present Fort Barrancas, and seems to have named the place Pensacola. In 1719, Spain and France, being at war, Pensacola was captured by Sieur de Bienville, the French governor of Louisiana. Later in the same year it was successively re-taken by a Spanish force from Havana and recaptured by Bienville, who burned the town and destroyed the fort. In 1723, three years after the close of hostilities, Bienville relinquished possession. The Spanish then transferred their settlement to the west end of Santa Rosa Island, but after a destructive hurricane in 1754 they returned to the mainland. In 1763, when the Floridas were ceded to Great Britain, Pensacola became the seat of administration for West Florida and most of the Spanish inhabitants removed to Mexico and Cuba. During the War of American Independence the town was a place of refuge for many Loyalists from the northern colonies. On the 9th of May 1781 it was captured by Don Bernardo de Galvez, the Spanish governor at New Orleans. Most of the English inhabitants left, but trade remained in the hands of English merchants. During the War of 1812 the British made Pensacola the centre of expeditions against the Americans, and in 1814 a British fleet entered the harbour to take formal possession. In retaliation General Andrew Jackson attacked the town, driving back the British. In 1818, on the ground that the Spanish encouraged the Seminole Indians in their attacks upon the American settlements in the vicinity, Jackson again captured Pensacola, and in 1821 Florida was finally transferred. to the United States. On the 12th of January 1861 the Navy Yard was seized by .order of the state government, but Fort. Pickens, defended first by an insignificant force under Lieut. Adam J. Slemmer (1828–68) and afterwards by a larger force. under Lieut.-Colonel Harvey Brown (1796–1874), remained in the hands of the Union forces, and on the 8th of May 1862 the Confederates abandoned Pensacola. Pensacola was chartered as a city in 1895.
- In 1881 the United States government began to improve the harbour by dredging, and in 1909 the depth of the channel, for a minimum width of about 300 ft., was 30 ft. at mean low water.