Pensacola Beach
Pensacola Beach
    Cities & Towns:
  • Century
  • Pensacola

Escambia County is the westernmost county in Florida's panhandle. Officially created on July 21, 1821 as one of Florida's two original counties, Escambia County now contains 662 square miles of land area and 213 square miles of water surface. The county seat is Pensacola.

Part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore is in Escambia County. Pensacola Christian College, Pensacola Junior College and the University of West Florida are in Escambia County.

Pensacola can lay claim to being the first European settlement on the shores of the mainland United States but not to being the longest continuously inhabited settlement. More than 1,400 people came ashore on August 15, 1559, led by Don Tristán de Luna y Arellano to build a settlement at Pensacola. However, on September 19 of that same year, the original settlement was destroyed by a hurricane that also sank ships and killed hundreds of people. The survivors picked up and moved a few miles away to start over but things didn't go well and the effort was abandoned with everyone leaving in 1561. The Spanish didn't try again until 1696.