Kingsley Plantation
The historic plantation house
was built by slaves in 1798
and is the oldest in the state.
Fort Caroline
The reconstructed fort helps
visitors explore the French
settlement established at
Jacksonville in 1564.
Jacksonville, Florida - Historic Sites & Points of Interest - Historic Sites of Jacksonville, Florida - Historic Sites of Jacksonville, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
The Ribault Monument stands on one of the highest
points in the Jacksonville area and commemorates
Jean Ribault's 1562 exploration of the area.
History on Florida's First Coast
A booming, vibrant city on Florida's Atlantic
Coast, Jacksonville is the center of a region
that is extremely rich in history and historic

The area supported a large Native American
population during prehistoric times. The vast
estuary of the St. Johns River provided a rich
source of food including fish, animals, edible
plants and a variety of shellfish. The middens
and shell mounds they left behind can still be
seen throughout the area, especially in the
Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve.

A beautiful national park area, the preserve
takes its name from the Timucuan Indians
who lived here when the Spanish and French
first arrived on the coast. It protects 46,000
acres of sensitive environmental land dotted
with numerous historic sites.

Among the points of interest in the Timucuan
Preserve are the
Ribault Monument and Fort
Caroline National Memorial. Both are
landmarks associated with the brief and
tragic French effort to settle the lands at the
mouth of the St. Johns River. The monument
is a replica of one placed by French explorer
Jean Ribault in 1562 while Fort Caroline was
a fort erected by the French in 1564 and
taken by the Spanish in a bloody attack just
one year later.

The Spanish ultimately gained control of the
Jacksonville area, establishing forts, farms
and missions in the area. The
Plantation House, Florida's oldest, was built
during the Spanish era and dates from 1798.

During the American Territorial Era, which
began in 1821, the plantation was the home
of Zephaniah Kingsley and his free African
wife, Anna. Although he was a slave-owner,
Kingsley was a strong voice for the civil rights
of free blacks in Florida and spoke out early
and often against the territory's "Black
Codes." He finally became so distressed
with the strict laws imposed on black citizens
that he freed 50 of his slaves and relocated
them with his entire family to Haiti.

Originally established as a British community
named Cowford after a place where livestock
could be driven across the St. Johns River,
the modern city of Jacksonville gained its
name shortly after Florida was ceded to the
United States by Spain in 1821. The name
pays tribute to General (and later President)
Andrew Jackson.

Jacksonville had emerged as a significant
port city by 1861, when war erupted between
North and South. The Confederate army
placed major emphasis on protecting the city
and erected powerful earthwork fortifications
to control the mouth of the St. Johns River.
Overgrown traces of these can still be seen
Yellow Bluff Fort Historic State Park.

The city fell to Union forces in 1862 after the
relatively bloodless
Battle of St. Johns Bluff.
Much heavier fighting took place in the area
in February of 1864 when a Union army of
more than 5,000 men landed at Jacksonville
and marched inland. The invasion led to the
Battle of Olustee just 45 miles west of the
city. It was Florida's largest battle of the Civil

As the victorious Confederates pursued the
Federals back to Jacksonville after Olustee,
General P.G.T. Beauregard established a
major siege line at
Camp Milton on McGirt's
Creek. The site is now a historic preserve.

Numerous other historic sites can be found
in Jacksonville, which has emerged as one
of Florida's largest and most progressive
cities. The nation's oldest city - St. Augustine,
Florida - is only a half hour south and
Jacksonville also serves as a gateway the
islands of Florida's northeastern coast.

To learn more about some of the city's key
historic sites, please follow the links below:
Camp Milton
The Civil War camp was built
by Confederate troops under
the supervision of General
P.G. T. Beauregard.
Timucuan Preserve
The ecological and historic
preserve protects beautiful
coastal scenery.
Olustee Battlefield
The largest Civil War battle in
Florida was fought just 45
miles west of Jacksonville at
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Copyright 2011 by Dale Cox
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