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Jacksonville History

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, Florida Timeline

  • 1513
    The Spanish arrive in Florida and claim the land as their discovery.
  • 1562
    Jean Ribaut explores the St. Johns River area for France.
  • 1564
    The French establish Fort Caroline on the St. Johns River.
  • 1565
    The Spanish, led by Pedro Menendez, found St. Augustine. Later, Spanish troops from there attack and destroy Fort Caroline, eliminating the French presence in Northeast Florida.
  • 1763
    Spain cedes Florida to Great Britain.
  • 1765
    Britain builds the King's Road which stretches from the St. Marys River in Georgia to St. Augustine and New Smyrna. The area where the road crosses the St. Johns River is known as the "Cow Ford."
  • 1783
    Britain returns Florida to Spanish control.
  • 1791
    The first permanant settlement at the Cow Ford.
  • 1821
    Florida becomes a territory of the United States of America.
  • 1822
    Isaiah D. Hart and other property owners formally lay out the streets for a town at the Cow Ford. The new town is named Jacksonville in honor of General Andrew Jackson.
  • 1822
    Duval County is created and Jacksonville serves as the county seat.
  • 1832
    Jacksonville is incorporated by the Territory of Florida.
  • 1832
    William J. Mills becomes the first mayor of Jacksonville.
  • 1845
    Florida becomes a state.
  • 1861
    The Civil War. Jacksonville is captured and recaptured several times by both sides. Union troops take control for good in 1864.
  • 1888
    A yellow fever epidemic strikes, causing the entire city to be quarantined. It started in the early spring, escalated in August, and by the time it ended in early December, 427 of 4704 stricken people died.
  • 1901
    The Great Fire decimates downtown Jacksonville. The fire destroyed around $15 million worth of property. The city rebuilt and recovered from this in just a few years.
  • 1908
    Kalem Studios, the first motion picture studio in Jacksonville opens. The industry boomed for a few years, but was all but dead by 1917.
  • 1921
    The St. Johns River Bridge opens as the first one to provide service to vehicles and pedestrians. It was later renamed in honor of local politician, St. Elmo W. Acosta.
  • 1940
    Jacksonville Naval Air Station opens. This was the first of several modern Naval facilities in the area.
  • 1964
    Hurricane Dora strikes Jacksonville, causing flooding and property damage to the tune of $250-300 million. The day after the hurricane went through, the Beatles performed outdoors to 20,000 fans in the Gator Bowl.
  • 1968
    Jacksonville and Duval County consolidate governments, forming the largest city (in land area) in the contiguous United States.
  • 1993
    Jacksonville is awarded a franchise in the National Football League. The Jaguars begin play in 1995.