Sorry for the delay. I have gig this week playing with an eight week old basset puppy.
Okay, Jacksonville. From Wiki:
Jacksonville is the most populous city in Florida, and is the largest city by area in the contiguous United States as of 2020. It is the seat of Duval County, with which the city government consolidated in 1968. Consolidation gave Jacksonville its great size and placed most of its metropolitan population within the city limits. As of 2019, Jacksonville’s population was estimated to be 911,507, making it the 12th most populous city in the U.S., the most populous city in the Southeast, and the most populous city in the South outside of the state of Texas. The Jacksonville metropolitan area has a population of 1,523,615 and is the fourth largest metropolitan area in Florida.
Great. So, what happened BEFORE Duval County moved the city limits to match the county line?
The area of the modern city of Jacksonville has been inhabited for thousands of years. On Black Hammock Island in the national Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, a University of North Florida team discovered some of the oldest remnants of pottery in the United States, dating to 2500 BC.
In the 16th century, the beginning of the historical era, the region was inhabited by the Mocama, a coastal subgroup of the Timucua people. At the time of contact with Europeans, all Mocama villages in present-day Jacksonville were part of the powerful chiefdom known as the Saturiwa, centered around the mouth of the St. Johns River. One early French map shows a village called Ossachite at the site of what is now downtown Jacksonville; this may be the earliest recorded name for that area.
In 1562, French Huguenot explorer Jean Ribault charted the St. Johns River, calling it the River of May because that was the month of his discovery. Ribault erected a stone column at his landing site near the river’s mouth, claiming the newly discovered land for France. In 1564, René Goulaine de Laudonnière established the first European settlement on the St. Johns River, Fort Caroline, near the main village of the Saturiwa.
Philip II of Spain ordered Pedro Menéndez de Avilés to protect the interests of Spain by attacking the French at Fort Caroline. On September 20, 1565, a Spanish force from the nearby Spanish settlement of St. Augustine attacked Fort Caroline, and killed nearly all the French soldiers defending it. The Spanish renamed the fort as San Mateo and, following the expulsion of the French, St. Augustine became the most important European settlement in Florida. The location of Fort Caroline is subject to debate, but a reconstruction of the fort was established in 1964 along the St. Johns River.Northeast Florida showing Cow Ford (center) from Bernard Romans‘ 1776 map of Florida
Spain ceded Florida to the British in 1763 after its victory against the French in the Seven Years’ War (known as the French and Indian War on the North American front). The British soon constructed the King’s Road connecting St. Augustine to Georgia. The road crossed the St. Johns River at a narrow point, which the Seminole called Wacca Pilatka and the British called the Cow Ford; these names reflected the use of the ford for moving cattle across the river there.
The British introduced the cultivation of sugar cane, indigo and fruits as commodity crops, in addition to exporting lumber. These crops were labor-intensive and the British imported more enslaved Africans to work the plantations that were developed. The planters in northeastern Florida began to prosper economically.
After being defeated in the American Revolutionary War, Britain returned control of this territory to Spain in 1783. The settlement at the Cow Ford continued to grow.
So, how did the territory end up being American? Spain handed it to us a few decades later. Colonies can be expensive you know.
After Spain ceded the Florida Territory to the United States in 1821, American settlers on the north side of the Cow Ford decided to plan a town, laying out the streets and plats. They named the town Jacksonville, after celebrated war hero and first Territorial Governor (later U.S. President) Andrew Jackson. Led by Isaiah D. Hart, residents wrote a charter for a town government, which was approved by the Florida Legislative Council on February 9, 1832.
During the American Civil War, Jacksonville was a key supply point for hogs and cattle being shipped from Florida to feed the Confederate forces. The city was blockaded by Union forces, who gained control of nearby Fort Clinch. Though no battles were fought in Jacksonville proper, the city changed hands several times between Union and Confederate forces. In the Skirmish of the Brick Church in 1862, Confederates won their first victory in the state. However, Union forces captured a Confederate position at the Battle of St. Johns Bluff, and occupied Jacksonville in 1862. Slaves escaped to freedom in Union lines. In February 1864 Union forces left Jacksonville and confronted a Confederate Army at the Battle of Olustee, going down to defeat.
Union forces retreated to Jacksonville and held the city for the remainder of the war. In March 1864 a Confederate cavalry confronted a Union expedition in the Battle of Cedar Creek. Warfare and the long occupation left the city disrupted after the war.
During Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, Jacksonville and nearby St. Augustine became popular winter resorts for the rich and famous. Visitors arrived by steamboat and later by railroad. President Grover Cleveland attended the Sub-Tropical Exposition in the city on February 22, 1888, during his trip to Florida. This highlighted the visibility of the state as a worthy place for tourism. The city’s tourism, however, was dealt major blows in the late 19th century by yellow fever outbreaks. Extending the Florida East Coast Railway further south drew visitors to other areas. From 1893 to 1938, Jacksonville was the site of the Florida Old Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Home; it operated a nearby cemetery.
Okay, enough of that. On to the rally, uh peaceful protest.
I’ll add live links to this post during the late afternoon as they become available.
In the meantime, please post tweets and videos below of what’s going on in Florida, and any travel stories you may have of the place.