Gulf Islands National Seashore tells the stories of people who have been drawn to the northern Gulf Coast for hundreds of years. From the Spanish, to the French, and British colonizers who fought for control of the region. From U.S. Army engineers and enslaved men who built brick-and-mortar forts to the American citizens who find inspiration, rejuvenation, and adventure in their largest national seashore.


People of Gulf Islands

  • Historic engraving of African American soldiers during the American Civil War.
    25th United States Colored Troops

    They fought for freedom and equality, helped save the Union, end slavery, and prepare for a new future.

  • Pencil sketch of soldiers entering a city with an officer on horseback in the center.
    Andrew Jackson in Pensacola

    Andrew Jackson came to Pensacola, Florida three times in his life.

  • Black and white photo of several American Indians sitting on a hill beside a rail car.
    Apache Prisoners of War

    In October 1866 a train pulled in Pensacola, Florida. Onboard were Apache prisoners of war.

  • A sign on a beach surrounded by dune vegetation.
    J. Earle Bowden

    Considered by many as the "Father of Gulf Islands National Seashore", Bowden led the grassroots movement in Florida.

  • A group of soliders sit in a wooded area in a semi-circle.
    Japanese Americans on Cat Island

    Learn about the Japanese American experience on Cat Island during World War II.

  • Black and white image of an elderly John Quincy Adams sitting in a wooden chair facing the camera.
    John Quincy Adams

    President John Quincy Adams authorized the establishment of the first federal tree farm, known today as the Naval Live Oaks Area.

  • Black and white photo of African American soldiers formed on a beach.
    Second Louisiana Native Guard

    The Second Louisiana Native Guard broke barriers and fought for freedom.

  • A historic engraving of enslaved people escaping across water in a small skiff.
    Peter, Property, and Posterity

    Peter Dyson provides a glimpse of enslaved African American men who built Pensacola’s masonry fortifications.

  • Color painting of Rosamond Johnson in his Army uniform.
    Rosamond Johnson

    Rosamond Johnson sacrificed his life for his country, and is remembered today at Johnson Beach.

  • Oil on plywood painting of an island wilderness in purple, green, and blue.
    Walter Anderson

    Inspired by the Mississippi barrier island wilderness, a painter captured the beauty of the islands in a unique way.

  • Painting of a white man with black hair in a military uniform with his arms crossed.
    William H. Chase

    In August 1828, the US Army Corps of Engineers chose Captain William Henry Chase to build coastal fortifications on Pensacola Bay. Chase, a

Last updated: May 7, 2020

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Mailing Address:

1801 Gulf Breeze Parkway
Gulf Breeze, FL 32563

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