Wednesday, January 28, 2009

King and Queen of Spain to Visit Pensacola for Its 450th Anniversary

/PRNewswire/ -- Celebrate Pensacola, Inc., along with city officials announced today that King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia will visit the city during its 450th anniversary celebration. Pensacola, founded by Spain in 1559, is one of the first European settlements in the United States.

"A visit from King Juan Carlos I is the highlight of the city's year-long celebration," said Mayor John Fogg. "His visit will bring our city international attention, confirming the significance of Pensacola's place in history as North America's first major European settlement."

While in town, the king and queen will tour the Pensacola Bay Area and its historic landmarks. Stops include Naval Air Station Pensacola, Pensacola Beach and the Pensacola Historic District. The king will make a public appearance at noon on Thursday, Feb. 19 at the TT Wentworth, Jr. Florida State Museum.

Other events planned throughout the year for Pensacola's 450th anniversary include the Pensacola Wine Festival, Miguel Zapata art exhibit, Battle of Pensacola reenactment, Heritage Festival, a visit from the tallship Juan Sebastian de Elcano, a landing celebration, parades, concerts and more.

Spanish sailor Don Tristan de Luna arrived in Pensacola on August 15, 1559 with a contingent of more than 1,500 soldiers, servants, settlers, priests and Mexican Indians. Shortly after establishing the settlement, a hurricane destroyed supplies, eventually causing the Spanish to flee the area and not return until the late 1600s. In 1698, Presidio Santa Maria de Galve became the first permanent settlement in Northwest Florida. Remains of the fort can be found at Naval Air Station Pensacola. The city is proud of its Spanish heritage, historically significant events and landmarks.

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