Pensacola celebrates 450th birthday

Long overlooked in favor of hot spots like Orlando and Miami, Pensacola hopes a yearlong 450th birthday bash will lure visitors to this city on the western edge of Florida's Panhandle.

Festivals, parades, battle reenactments, art exhibits and other events will commemorate Spanish explorer Don Tristan de Luna's 1559 arrival at Pensacola Bay.
King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain set the tone with a royal visit Feb. 19, touring the city of 60,000 and visiting Pensacola Naval Air Station, home of the world-famous U.S. Navy's Blue Angels aerial demonstration team....

St. Augustine, founded in 1565, bills itself as "The Nation's Oldest City," and has been continuously occupied since its establishment on Florida's Atlantic coast. Pensacola is known as the first settlement, because historians believe de Luna's failed 1559 attempt to colonize here was the first European settlement in the United States. A hurricane sank eight of de Luna's 11 ships and the settlement collapsed in 1561—the Spanish didn't return until the late 1600s, more than a century

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