Escambia and St. Johns Counties are celebrating unique anniversaries in July. The counties were established by ordinance on July 21, 1821 by Provisional Governor Andrew Jackson in what is now Plaza Ferdinand in Pensacola. Considered Florida’s original counties, they covered the entire territory within modern state boundaries. The Suwannee River was the border between Escambia and St. Johns Counties. The Escambia County government had jurisdiction over the “panhandle” and “big bend” areas, and St. Johns over the rest of the state.
Pensacola, in Escambia County, is planning a day of commemoration on July 17th, including a sunrise blessing by the Santa Rosa Creek Tribe. The University of West Florida Symphonic Band will play The Star-Spangled Banner as well as a medley of Spanish, British, French and American music. Hispanic musicians will drift through the Village and performers of African descent will dance in the plazas. Spanish and English military reenactors will mingle with the audience at Historic Pensacola Village.
The City of St. Augustine, in St. Johns County, will be hosting several events over the month of July commemorating the date as well. On July 9th and 10th, the Historic Florida Militia hosted a 19th Century Historical Encampment at the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park. Also on July 10th, the Historic Florida Militia presented the Act of Transfer and Change of Flags Ceremony — a recreation of the signing of the official document declaring the end of Spanish rule in east Florida. And on July 21st, the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners will host a Time Capsule Dedication Ceremony to preserve a snapshot of 2021. We hope you celebrate a slice of Florida’s history by going to some of these events for the 200th anniversary of Escambia and St. John’s Counties.