Northeastern Florida was a popular place during the 16th century: It was repeatedly fought over by the Spanish, French and British. Spain claimed Pascua Florida in 1513 for the King of Spain. Jean Ribault landed in 1562 to claim it for the King of France, built a stone monument commemorating the event, and two years later established a colony. That made the Spanish mad, and they destroyed both the colony and the French fleet. The British had no better luck and had to settle for colonies further north. Eventually the fledgling United States government acquired the territory and put an end to the matter once and for all. The city of Jacksonville was founded on June 15, 1822, 23 years before Florida was granted Statehood.
Lumber was an important business here prior to the Civil War; tourism dominated the 1880s; when jetties were built in the late 1890s, the city became an important port. Jacksonville was the nation s first film center during the silent movie era. Post World War II military bases positively impacted the local economy, as did the insurance and banking headquarters established here. That magic elixir sought by Ponce de Leon has yet to be found, but world-renowned Mayo Clinic s first "branch office" here is continually helping to extend life. Come, discover for yourself what makes Jacksonville so special!