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History | The Cross
Fort Pickens - Isle de St. Rose

Isle de St. Rose
Celebrating over 450 Years

In 2009, the Pensacola Bay Area celebrated the 450th anniversary of the founding of the first European settlement in the United States. The first out-of-town visitor to Isle de St. Rose was Don Tristan de Luna. In the summer of 1559, he sailed up the Gulf from Mexico, his 11 ships loaded with gear and food for survival.

Many do not know that Pensacola predates St. Augustine (1565) and Jamestown, VA (1607). Several months after the settlement was established in 1559, a hurricane destroyed the supplies, and within three years, de Luna and his group were forced to abandon camp.

The cross on Pensacola Beach commemorates the first Christian mass held in the United States when the first Spaniards arrived.

Fort Pickens

The Fort was completed in 1834 and used until WWII, when modern weapons made traditional coastal defense obsolete. Fort Pickens has changed over the years, so take the self-guided tour and peel back the layers of history. You'll see the plaster-lined rooms that were intended as officers' quarters, and were later used to house Apache prisoners. The most famous resident, Geronimo, lived in identical rooms along the south wall, which have since collapsed.