If you’re curious to learn more about the unique and interesting history of the city of Jacksonville, Florida, then you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’re going to take a closer look at the overall history of the city, and we will also take a closer look at some of the key events that make up the historic past of Jacksonville. Bearing this in mind, let’s get straight to it.
Firstly, it’s important to note that the city first began to grow out of a late 18th-century settlement that was originally known as Cow Ford, and it was settled primarily by British colonists.
However, as the late 19th century approached, it gradually started to become a popular winter destination for tourists who were primarily coming from the Midwest and the North.
The Great Fire
The city enjoyed vibrant growth during this time, but it ultimately ran into a significant slowdown after the Great Fire of 1901. This fire is known to be one of the worst disasters to ever hit Florida, and it was also the third biggest urban fire ever to occur in the United States. In total, around 146 city blocks were destroyed, leaving more than 10,000 people homeless.
The Florida Boom
But as life slowly began to return to normal and the rebuilding process took place, the Florida Land Boom of the 1920s, known as the first ever real estate bubble, burst in 1925, which caused a whole new era of economic instability and problems throughout the city.
However, despite the significant roadblocks in its earlier days, the city has since gone from strength to strength, and ever since the late 20th century, it has steadily grown to become one of the most popular and important cities in the country. These days, the city’s vibrant metropolis is home to over a million American citizens.
Going back into ancient times, there is archaeological evidence that shows humans inhabited the area of Jacksonville almost 6000 years ago, but little is known about this part of its history beyond some pottery that was found to be dating all the way back to 2500 BC.
Of course, Spanish explorers settled in the 1500s, and it is thought they were some of the first Europeans to visit the specific area of Jacksonville. During these times, the area was settled by Spanish missionaries, and several decades later, the French Navy arrived, bring with them French Huguenots and Protestants who had been fleeing from religious persecution in their native France.
Later on, both the French in Spain were defeated by the British, who went on to have a significant influence in the city, leading up to the point where the entire state of Florida was ceded to Britain by the Spanish in 1763.
America Civil War
During the American Civil War, the city of Jacksonville became a key supply point which aided the Confederate army, although the important port found in Jacksonville was prominently blockaded by the U.S. Navy to reduce its effectiveness.
An important battle took place in February to 20th, 1864 when Union soldiers who hailed from Jacksonville confronted the Confederate army, resulting in the battle of Olustee. This battle didn’t go well for the Union, ultimately resulting in a conclusive victory for the Confederacy, with the battle known for its considerable fearsome fighting.
The Rise of Jacksonville
But after the Civil War, Jacksonville has some interesting claims to fame. For example, before the rise of Hollywood, the bulk of the motion picture industry was actually based in Fort Lee New Jersey, but the winter headquarters quickly became Jacksonville due to its warm, pleasant climate and its ability to stand in for numerous exotic locations that were required for these early silent movies.
Another significant aspect of Jacksonville’s history is the effect that hurricanes can have on the population, with Hurricane Dora, originating in Jacksonville, becoming one of the most significant hurricanes of the 60s which even affected live concerts given by the Beatles at the time. Ultimately, the hurricanes continued to affect the population every few decades, with the next big one being in 1999, known as Hurricane Floyd, which caused the evacuation of over a million people.
Overall, it’s clear to see that the city of Jacksonville, Florida has an interesting, rich, and varied history that makes it a complicated city in more ways than one, but always a delightful place to visit.