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Historic Fairbanks House

Fernandina Beach is a city in Nassau Countymarker in the state of Floridamarker in the United States of Americamarker and on Amelia Islandmarker. The area was first inhabited by the Timucuan Indian tribe. Known as the "Isle of 8 Flags", it had the following flags flown over it since 1562: Francemarker, Spainmarker, Great Britainmarker, Spain (again), the Patriots of Amelia Island, the Green Cross of Florida, Mexicomarker, the Confederate States of America, and the United Statesmarker. It is the only municipality in the United States that has flown eight different national flags.

As of 2008, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates the City’s population to be 12,076. It is the county seat of Nassau Countymarker.


Fernandina Beach is located at (30.4010, -81.2742).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 27.8 km2 (10.7 sq mi), all land. It is the northern most city in Florida.


As of the census of 2000, there were 10,549 people, 4,525 households, and 2,941 families residing in the city. The population density was 984.4 people per square mile (379.9/km2). There were 5,588 housing units at an average density of 521.5/sq mi (201.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 81.54% White, 16.19% African American, 0.27% Native American, 0.59% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.51% from other races, and 0.83% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.33% of the population.

There were 4,525 households out of which 23.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.4% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.0% were non-families. 28.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.78.

In the city the population was spread out with 20.2% under the age of 18, 7.0% from 18 to 24, 26.0% from 25 to 44, 28.8% from 45 to 64, and 18.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 91.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $40,893, and the median income for a family was $54,806. Males had a median income of $36,179 versus $26,356 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,517. About 6.4% of families and 10.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.1% of those under age 18 and 8.7% of those age 65 or over.


Southside Elementary School (PreK-2)

Principal: Mike Geselbracht

Emma Love Hardee Elementary School (3-5)

Principal: Dr. Eric Larsen

"A" School

Fernandina Beach Middle School (6-8)

Principal: Dr. John Mazzella

"A" School

Fernandina Beach High School (9-12)

Principal: Jane Arnold

The Isle of 8 Flags

Circa 1000, native American bands associated with the Timucuan mound-building culture settled on the island, which they called Napoyca. They remained on Napoyca until the early 18th century.

French flag

French Huguenot explorer Jean Ribault becomes the first (recorded) European visitor to Napoyca in 1562, which he names Isle de Mar.

Spanish flag

In 1565, Spanish forces led by Pedro Menendez de Aviles drive the French from northeastern Florida, slaughtering Ribault and approximately 350 other French colonists.

In 1573, Spanish Franciscans establish the Santa Maria mission on the island, which is named Isla de Santa Maria. The mission was abandoned in 1680 after the inhabitants refuse a Spanish order to relocate. British raids force the relocation of the Santa Catalina de Guale mission on Georgia's St. Catherines Islandmarker, to the abandoned Santa Maria mission on the Island in 1685. In 1702, this mission was again abandoned when South Carolina's colonial governor, James Moore, leads a joint British-Indian invasion of Florida.

English flag

Georgia's founder and colonial governor, James Oglethorpe, renames the island "Amelia Island" in honor of princess Amelia (1710-1786), King George II's daughter, although the island was still a Spanish possession. After establishing a small settlement on the northwestern edge of the island, Oglethorpe negotiates with Spanish colonial officials for a transfer of the island to British sovereignty. Colonial officials agree to the transfer, but the King of Spain nullifies the agreement.

The Treaty of Paris in 1763 ratifies Britain's victory in the Seven Years' War, ceding Florida to Britain in exchange for Havana and nullifying all Spanish land grants in Florida. The Proclamation of 1763 established the St. Mary's River as East Florida's northeastern boundary.

Spanish flag

In 1783, the Second Treaty of Paris ends the Revolutionary War and returns Florida to Spain. British inhabitants of Florida had to leave the province, within 18 months, unless they swore allegiance to Spain. In 1811, surveyor George J. F. Clarke plats the town of Fernandina, named in honor of Spain's King Ferdinand VII.

North-American Patriots flag

With the approval of President James Madison and Georgia Governor George Mathews in 1812-1813, insurgents known as the "Patriots of Amelia Island" seize the island. After raising a Patriot flag, they replace it with the United States Flag. American gunboats under the command of Commodore Hugh Campbell maintain control of the island.

Spanish flag

Spanish pressure forces the American evacuation in 1813. Spanish forces erect Fort San Carlos on the island in 1816.

Latin American Patriots' Green Cross of Florida flag

Led by Gregor MacGregor in 1817, a colorful Scottish-born South American freedom fighter, 55 musketeers seize Fort San Carlos, claiming the island on behalf of "the brethren of Mexico, Buenos Ayres, New Grenada and Venezuela".Mac Gregor claimed to be Brigadier General of the armies of the United Provinces of New Grenada and Venezuela (where he had successfully fought and led troops), and general in chief of the armies for the two Floridas, commissioned by the Supreme Director of Mexico, South America.

Mexican rebel flag

Spanish soldiers force MacGregor's withdrawal, but their attempt to regain complete control is foiled by American irregulars organized by Ruggles Hubbard and former Pennsylvania congressman Jared Irwin. Hubbard and Irwin later join forces with the French-born pirate Luis Aury, who lays claim to the island on behalf of the Republic of Mexico. U. S. Navy forces drive Aury from the island, and President James Monroe vows to hold Amelia Island "in trust for Spain."

Confederate flag

On January 8, 1861, two days before Florida's secession, Confederate sympathizers (the Third Regiment of Florida Volunteers) take control of Fort Clinchmarker, already abandoned by Federal workers who had been constructing the fort. General Robert E. Lee visits Fort Clinch in November 1861 and again in January 1862, during a survey of coastal fortifications.

United States flag

Union forces, consisting of 28 gunboats commanded by Commodore Samuel Dupont, restore Federal control of the island on March 3, 1862 and raise the American Flag. In January 1863, the first all-black regiment of former slaves recruited to fight for the Union is read Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation at Fernandina. Three weeks later they set sail up the St. Marys River to engage Confederate forces.

Notable residents

Notable current and former residents of Fernandina beach include:


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