So, you want to learn about the history of Jacksonville Florida. I have no idea why, you could have a million reasons, maybe you’re taking a trip there and want to learn a little a bit of the place to impress your friends, maybe you’re moving there and want to find out more about the place to your settling your roots, or maybe you’re just a history buff like us and want to find out about such a fascinating place in the world.
Whatever the reason, you’ve come here to find out the history of Jacksonville Florida. You want to unwind the weave of time and take a step back in colonial times, and even further. Certainly, that is a request that we can fulfill, and hopefully when we do you shall be able to learn some important lessons, maybe some interesting facts from this. So, for your convenience, here is a conveniently compiled analyze of the history of Jacksonville, Florida.
The Native Settlements
Now, starting way before the Conquistadors came to Florida, before they discovered the entrance to the St. Johns River, there was a group of Native American Indians called the Timucuan. They lived a densely populated area of trees, perfect for there every need.
We would have never known that the Native Americans where there in the first place, as they had no written language, and all of their possessions would have been destroyed long before our generation. The only reason that we know that they where there was because the European settlers have admitted to seeing them there.
The Spanish vs The French
At that point in time, the Spanish have already claimed the entirety of the Florida peninsula, and some areas in the north. The French at the same time was competing with the Spanish for territory of Florida, much that territory being St. Augustine and Jacksonville.
The Spanish actually took a French Fort called Fort Caroline, which they changed the name to, Fort San Mateo.
At the same time that all of that was happening the Spanish was trying to convert the Native Americans to the Catholic Faith, and something that is pretty great about that is that the Natives helped them live off the land. It’s kinda rare to hear a story about the Native Americans and Colonists working well together.
Anyways, at the end of the seven year, 1763, in Europe, Spain had to give up a ton of its territory in Florida in order to keep Havana, which was extremely important to their plans. After that, the Spanish had to leave, and they took with them the remaining Timucuan with them.
With the Spanish reign of Florida over, it’s now the British’s turn have their own influence on Florida, and that includes Jacksonville.
20 Years of the British Reign
Like this section is named, the British only had the short amount of time, 20 years, to make their mark on Florida, without much other influence saying otherwise. Now, while it was a very short time for Florida, it was also a very important time, as a lot of it was focusing on the development of the now state.
There were a ton of land grants, plantations built, farming development, etc. A lot of which was built along the St. Johns River, which just makes sense. They were growing tons of vegetables, fruits, and other materials along it which was a huge development for Florida. They grew rice, carrots, cotton, cabbage’s, indigo, etc.
Something else that was a major development in Florida, and something that is very interesting is that they built Florida’s very first road. It was called the Kings Road, and it spanned from Savannah to St. Augustine. Also, a little side note is that they were collecting tons of lumber to expand the British navy, which is very important to Jacksonville, but it’s something that they were doing.
Now as this was all happening and the boons where growing, commerce and population grew, making it expand even more as the port was expanding and people wanted to come visit, even before theme parks were a thing.
Now in 1783, the British were finally forced to give up the Florida Colony, and wouldn’t you guess it, they had to give it back up to the Spanish. Unfortunately for pretty much everyone, the second colonization of Florida from the Spanish was not quite as great as the first one.
The Short Second Reign of Spanish Florida
Now, most of the Spanish’s usual allies had moved onto other things, like the Caribbean, which makes sense because the British held a death grip on it. Because of that, and after tons of little invasions from the newly formed United States. Told you it was short.
The United States in Florida and the Formation of Jacksonville
In 1821, Florida became a part of the United States of America. Now, here is the important part, in 1822, two settlers donated some of their land, located at the north bank of Cowford, and this newly donated land was renamed into Jacksonville. It was named Jacksonville because it was named after the territories of the very first governor, Andrew Jackson. What’s funny about that is that the man never got to visit the town, he never set foot there, probably because he went out to become the eighth president of the United States.
Moving on though, Florida has now become, at this point in history, one of the most important trading docks for the United States. They were and still are one of the most important exporting locations for them and to the rest for the world, because it’s one of the territories right on the coast. Most of what they exported at the time, was goods from the north, but they also exported a lot of their own things, lumber, cotton, vegetables, and possibly the greatest fruit to ever exist, according to us Floridians, oranges. An interesting fact is the Florida orange grove market expanded quite quickly due to a Jacksonville SEO Agency.
The commercial activity that Florida was just kept getting bigger, and by the time Florida had gained statehood in 1845, it was very well established as the center of most commercial activity in the territory. Florida so far has had such a rich history, unfortunately, after this point, things kinda take a dip and turn a little dark with the coming of the civil war, and all the issues that are being presented for the time.
Florida’s Civil War Era
As you can probably imagine, the civil war was a pretty big shake up to the United States. now, that is especially true when it concerns the south and Florida, and by proxy, Jacksonville. In the war, there was support for both the Union and the Confederacy, but Florida Ceded from the Union either way, probably because they where I the south and heavily relied on the south’s way of life.
Now, Jacksonville was a major location for the war effort, as it is a port city. The Union used if for a blockade of the south, keeping them contained in their little bubble of states. The Union was able to occupy Jacksonville four times, which is quite interesting, them going back and forth on who was owning the town.
Slaves would go to Jacksonville constantly, seeking asylum, trying to find freedom and a new life there. They would head to Jacksonville because a lot of other states, countries or any other areas where too far away, they wouldn’t be able to make the walk to a place that would be safe, so they had to settle for Jacksonville.
After Florida’s Civil War Era
Like many other cities in the south, and the north, it fell kind of into hard times, what with a ton of property damage and economic ruin because of the civil war. Luckily for Jacksonville, it had an advantage on over the other cities in the south.
Like we said, at the time, and currently, Jacksonville is a port city and is extremely important in the exporting company. To take advantage of that though, Florida, and Jacksonville had to change a few things about their way of life.
They were a major exporting company, but to survive, they decided to add importing to their title as well. The thing that they imported is probably not something that you would guess, but it is what happened.
Florida now had tourists being imported into their cities, bringing people who didn’t want anything to do with the cold come and have fun on our beaches. How fascinating is that all the way back in the civil war area tourists still wanted to come and visit us, even without the theme parks, which to be fair hadn’t been a concept at the time.
Anyway, by the very late 1800’s over 70,000 people where coming to visit annually, every darn year, and because of that, Jacksonville was able to gain some traction in the financial department and grew.
Hotels expanded, properties where utilizing the beaches that they had on hand, the railroad expanded across the river, south, giving tourists a great view of the natural Florida scenery, making it all to tempting for people to come by and spend their hard-earned money relaxing after such stressful times.
The Great Fire of 1901 and the Rise of Modern Jacksonville
Something happened in 1901 that you can probably guess from the title of this section. The great fire of 1901, over 2,300 buildings were destroyed, just absolutely turned to dust and left rotting on the ground.
This obviously wasn’t great for a lot of people in Jacksonville, and obviously they were not happy at all that it happened, but something amazing did come from it. Like a phoenix being reborn, Jacksonville Florida found new inspiration and transformation with the burning fires.
Jacksonville Florida decided to take advantage of the opportunity of the fire and rebuild the city into a more modern-day Jacksonville. The colonial frontier died, and the age of concrete buildings came burning in.
Many additions were added to the city, a library was donated to the city by Andrew Carnegie, which was built in 1905, which was very generous of him and great for the city, and its moral. Henry Klutho came by and gave the city a new style with his Architectural Prairie style. Tons of other things happened to the city as well, in 1910 for example, the first paved road was created, which connected the city and the beach together, making life so much easier for everyone, and made tourists especially want to come by for the convenience of being able to get straight from there hotel to the beach without getting any dirt on their clothes or shoes.
Lastly, the next big thing the modern development was the creation of moving pictures, the film industry came by and took Jacksonville by storm, making both the tourists and the locals crazy with excitement at the advancement in technology and the fun they had watching their classic films made.
The Conclusion and updates to our Era of Jacksonville Florida
As you can imagine, there were some bumps in the road for Jacksonville Florida from that point until now. Some of them weren’t great, some of them were worse, but we always came back on top and better than ever after every single one.
Jacksonville had to endure both world wars, like everyone else in the world, but it only made them stronger and more united in each other in their city. The great depression made credit not so great for everyone and they had to try and solve that issue with the rest of America, but they made sure to keep their finances in better order afterwards, all sorts of bad things happened but there was usually a silver lining.
Today Jacksonville Florida stands tall with all the other great cities of the world, bring joy to tourists and homes for the locals. They especially get joy from there very own local football team, the Jacksonville Jaguars, which came about in 2005, just one last little fact in this analyze of Jacksonville Florida.