The Conquistadors of PerdidoSeptember 18 2018
By Anna Dosev
You are vacationing on historic ground… very historic ground.
Perdido means “lost” in Spanish, which is a fitting name given the mysterious history of the area. Although the history of Pensacola is fairly documented, the discovery of Perdido Bay is left more up to legend. Some say the conquistadors buried their treasure in the bay because it was so hard to maneuver their ships into.
Spanish ships in search of gold found emerald shores instead. Let’s take a look at some of the notable figures who were on these ships.
Tristan de Luna
De Luna established the first multi-year European settlement in Pensacola in 1559, making the city of Pensacola older than St. Augustine! He called it “Santa Maria de Ochuse.” However, this settlement was wiped out by a hurricane and the surviving settlers moved inland.
Pànfilo de Narvaez and Hernando de Soto
These two explorers were notable Spanish conquistadors. Narvaez participated in the Spanish conquest of Cuba, and de Soto is believed to be the first European to cross the Mississippi River. Although these two explorers may not have come to the Perdido area themselves, members of their crew were sent on expeditions to survey the area in 1528 and 1539.
Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora
This explorer and cartographer was one of the first great intellectuals born in New Spain (Mexico). In 1693, Góngora was sent by the Spanish government to locate the entrance of Perdido Bay. This was more than 100 years after the discovery of Pensacola by the Spanish!
Although he located the entrance, he was unable to find a passage deep enough to sail ships through.