The Spanish in Northwest Florida.
Spain was the most
prominent European country to
explore and settle in northwest Florida territory. The most
well-know and researched aspects of their influence comes out of
Pensacola. In 1806 the Spaniards built a new fort opposite
entrance into Pensacola Bay. Construction of the new brick fort, called
Fort Carlos de Barrancas, began in 1797 on the site of the old British
naval redoubt. The new fort had an adjacent water battery named San
Antonio. Although the brick fort has since been redesigned and rebuilt,
the battery San Antonio is still intact and is now a part of the
American Fort Barrancas. (To learn more, go to Latinola.com) .
Barrancas sits on a bluff overlooking the entrance to Pensacola Bay.
The natural advantages of this location have inspired engineers of
three nations to build forts. The British built the Royal Navy Redoubt
here in 1763 of earth and logs. The Spanish built two forts here around
1797. Bateria de San Antonio was a masonry water battery at the foot of
the bluff. Above it was earth and log Fort San Carlos de Barrancas.
French in Northwest Florida, 1719 - 1722.
of French Louisiana, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, took
Pensacola for France on May 14, 1719, arriving with his fleet and a
large ground force of Indian warriors. The Spanish commander of
Pensacola, Metamoras, had not heard that war had been declared between
France and Spain, and his garrison was so small that he felt it would
be useless to resist: at four o'clock in the afternoon, he surrendered
on the conditions that private citizens and property should not be
disturbed and the garrison should march out with honors of war and be
shipped to Havana in French vessels.Bienville left about sixty men at
Pensacola and sailed away. The French were in Pensacola for only three
years; they burned their settlement when they left.
French, who had established settlements also further west at Mobile and
Biloxi, held Pensacola during this period. Overall, French influences
were generally dominant among the Creoles on the Gulf Coast west of
Pensacola, with Spanish influences dominant among Creoles in the modern
Panhandle. We believe that a hurricane drove the French from Pensacola
in 1722 and the Spanish moved the town from the storm-vulnerable
barrier island to the mainland.
The French Settlement
of Belandville, FL."French Colony
in Santa Rosa
County?" (Jerry Simmons) In the early years of the Great
Depression, Albertino J. Beland had access to several hundred acres in
Rosa County, Florida. The land was in a remote area of
the Florida panhandle,
but Beland saw a great opportunity for people
interests and talents to begin life anew. He
formed a farming colony of French-Canadians in the woods near
McClellan, Florida. What eventually happened to the innovative colony
is not known, except that it seems the 1930s was not a good time for
such a daring venture. By the end of the decade, most of the settlers
had moved away. It’s said that there’s hardly any
there was ever a village or town there. There may be a few bricks here
and there, the remnants of the creamery or the cannery, but other than
that, the forest has taken root once again. (The town had a school;
See the Research & Resources section on this site to learn
British Colonization of Florida, 1763 - ca 1783.
gained control of Florida in 1763 in exchange for Havana, Cuba, which
the British had captured from Spain during the Seven Years’
(1756–63). Spain evacuated Florida after the exchange,
the province virtually empty, as most of the Native Americans had by
now succumbed to the ravages of European disease and slavery. At that
time, Pensacola also was a small military town.
British had ambitious plans for Florida. First, it was split into two
parts: East Florida, with its capital at St. Augustine; and West
Florida, with its seat at Pensacola. British surveyors mapped much of
the landscape and coastline and tried to develop relations with a new
group of Native American people who were moving into the area from the
North. The British called these people of Creek Indian descent
Seminolies, or Seminoles. Britain attempted to attract white settlers
by offering land on which to settle and help for those who produced
products for export. This plan might have converted Florida into a
flourishing colony, but British rule did not last.
and Norwegians, late 1800s.
Community of Svea.
community is north of Laurel Hill. FL. The original settlers
Swedes and Norwegians. At the turn of the 20th century a real
estate promoter lured immigrants to Florida from Chicago. The
first homesteaders arrived at Svea in the late 1800s. They
platted out the town and recorded their dream community in what was
Walton (now Okaloosa) County. The platting was controversial because
the Norwegians had a name in the hat also, but there were more Swedes
than Norwegians, so they won out. Mrs. Ouida Grimes recalled
stories told by her in-laws. Svea means "extraordinarily
beautiful" - the town grew slowly - three stores, a post office and a
small cotton gin and saw mill and railroad depot provided work for a
few people. A school was built in 1937 and the town had two churches,
Svea Baptist and Svea Assembly of God. But, by the time the
churches were built, most of the Swedes and Norwegians had left.
Today, there is no sign of the train depot, the stores are
and one of the churches is empty. A small cemetery remains as
several small houses.
can be found at the Library of Baker Block Museum and at local
libraries in the book "Our Town" by North West Florida
Daily News, 1992.
Scots in Walton County, FL.
During the 1700's, Euchee Indians moved into the
area and lived
around Bruce Creek & Choctawhatchee Bay. Scottish settlers
into the area soon after and befriended the Euchees. Legend says that
the Euchee came from out west; their language is distinct and not
related to the Muskogee language group. The influential chief in the
area was Timpoochee Kinnard, or Sam Story. He was a great friend to
Colonel Neill McKinnon, the influential Scottish settler in the area.
Sam Story's son Jim Crow took McKinnon's daughter Harriet to be his
wife. Story's Landing on Bruce Creek is where the chief had his
village. (Early 1800's.)
not known as a mixed blood people, they were Creek Indians who chose to
align themselves in battle with the British in Territorial Florida.
Some might say they were renegades but this would be a superficial
view. These people would be best studied as a historical and political
aspect of Native American history in the Southeast United States.
Dominickers were a small biracial or triracial ethnic group that was
once centered in the Florida Panhandle county of Holmes, in a corner of
part of the county west of the Choctawhatchee River, near the town of
Ponce de Leon. The
Troy State University Library at Dothan, AL library provides this
historical sketch: Domineckers/Dominickers settled in Holmes
County, Florida, between Westville and Ponce de Leon. The
families were considered "mixed" (Black, White, and Indian).
Whites refused to consider Domineckers as white, and Domineckers
refused to consider themselves to be black, though they used black
public facilities and coaches. Their children were not
attend white schools, a grammar school was later established for them
by the State. The Dominecker/Dominicker "name" was
around 1860, supposedly from a child custody case. (See more
about this collection in our Research & Resources section.)
Photograph of Dominicker
children and white teacher, Mt. Zion School, Holmes County, Florida,
circa 1910. Photographer unknown.
Pony Hill records that in the late 1850s a large number of families
left the Choctawhatchee River area of northwest Florida and journeyed
west to Rapides Parish, Louisiana. These families, often described as
"mixed-bloods" joined an older settlement which resulted in a group
which is known today as the "Red Bone" community. History suggests that
a group of families left the same area of Florida in1853, but met with