Spanish Colonial Heritage Trail

The Florida Spanish Colonial Heritage Trail is a 64-page, full-color guidebook highlighting more than 50 Spanish heritage and historical sites dating from 1513 to 1821. While St. Augustine and Pensacola are landmark areas, Spanish explorations and legacies are reflected in museums, forts, parks, shipwrecks, memorials and churches throughout the state.

The publication includes color photos and illustrations of sites and artifacts as well as biographical profiles and historical essays examining Native American and Spanish interaction, Spanish missions, forts and outposts, and much more. A timeline traces historical highlights from the periods of exploration, permanent settlement and missionization, and Colonial rivalries, British and Second Spanish Periods.

Important milestones include:

  • One of the first European settlement attempts in the United States was Spanish explorer Tristan de Luna’s 1559 arrival in what today is Pensacola Bay. In February 2009, HM King Juan Carlos I and HM Queen Sofia of Spain visited Pensacola in honor of Pensacola’s 450th Anniversary.
  • The 2013 Quincentennial Celebrations to honor the 1513 arrival and exploration of Florida by Juan Ponce de Leon and the 500th Anniversary of Florida.
  • St. Augustine’s 450th Anniversary in 2015 to acknowledge Pedro Menéndez de Avilés’ arrival and settlement in 1565.

The Florida Spanish Colonial Heritage Trail was produced by VISIT FLORIDA with funding from the Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development in cooperation with the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources. For more information on Florida’s Spanish Colonial history and cultural heritage visit

The guide book is available online at or may be purchased through

One Reply to “Spanish Colonial Heritage Trail”

  1. Respectfully,

    I am the discoverer of the only archaeological evidence ever found in Florida with a Spanish Explorer’s name. Can anyone tell me how you get the State Archaeologists Office in Tallahassee and the De Soto National Memorial in Bradenton to say two simple little words for the preservation of their own past? You mention the official visit by the King of Spain in 2009 to honor Spanish Heritage in Florida, it may have been an official oversight but somebody is trying to pretend Florida History never happened at the same time they keep on commemorating it did. On October 16, 2008 I met with Inspector General Kirby Mole and the Director of Florida Cultural Affairs to donate De Soto’s 1539 Landing Relic to the Museum of Florida History. To this day, nobody is authorized to admit the thing even exists. It’s a long story but the historical truth is it’s also your history. Why be embarrassed to admit it ever happened in real life and even be able to hold it publicly in the palm of your own hand? Know what I mean? Thank you! There must be somebody down there with the courage to stand up for our Spanish Heritage Trails. Even when the FLBAR and the NPS are not authorized, eh. We are talking about La Florida’s most unwanted piece of history ever discovered here. There’s also more to it on a National Level, but historic preservation has to start somewhere. Why not let these State Archaeologists keep on doing their jobs before these Legislatures decide that their work is no longer needed like they did in other states. A very controversial question it is. However, when you build your Administration Headquarters on site of De Soto’s 1539 First Winter Encampment you’d think these knowledgeable experts would be able to recognize the very importance of that very same date and even remember how this famous explorer even spelled his own name perhaps? I love to read about people who care about Spanish Heritage as well as that of Native Americans during the Early Contact Period. There is evidence on the artifacts themselves that show the clashes between these two opposite forces. Don’t be afraid to examine the physical evidence to show what really happened back in the 16th Century or even exactly where it did happen.

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