Recently, the news brought out the fact that we are nearing the 150th anniversary of the start of "The War of Northern Agression" (What some call the "Civil War). And, they brought up the fact that I've heard very seldom mentioned, that the Civil War might have started in Pensacola, and not in South Carolina.
Growing up just across the bay from Pensacola, Florida, I feel privileged to be so close to such a historical place. Pensacola (once called Panzacola by the Spaniards) is the oldest city in America, being the first colony of Spain on American soil. In fact, I was raised very close to the first Spanish Mission on American Soil over here on what is now known as Garcon Point.
The Spanish History in this area is amazing, as the Spanish sailed all throughout this area. In fact, just about three miles across the bay from where I live on Bayou Chico I believe it is (maybe it’s Bayou Texar), they discovered a 1600 century Spanish sailing ship. You can see a replica of it today at the T. T. Wentworth museum downtown.
And, if you were to go downtown, you would see a small fort on a hill which represents the battle fought there between the British and the Spanish. There is a small bust there to a man named Galvez, of whom Escambia Bay was once named. It was called “La Bahia de Santa Maria de Galvez.” I’m with you. It’s just much easier to say Escambia Bay!
The rich Spanish heritage of the Pensacola area is everywhere. But after the Americans took over Florida, that heritage quickly faded. But they are still discovering Spanish artifacts today.
Pensacola is known as “The City of Five Flags,” for the five countries that once ruled this area. They include: Spanish, French, British, American, and Confederate.
So the Pensacola area in rich in culture and diverse in its heritage.
This brings us to the Civil War. Not only does Pensacola hold claim to being the first founded colony in the new World, but it also holds claim to being the site of where the Civil War started. Many believe it started in South Carolina and Fort Sumter. But they conveniently omit what really happened down here in Pensacola several months earlier.
With the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, it’s about time we look at what really happened. Hopefully, Pensacola will receive it’s rightful honor and place in history as the site of the start of this dreadful and bloody war.