Located right at the end of Palafox Pier in downtown Pensacola stands this bronze statue in honor of Tristan de Luna y Arellano. Known as a Spanish Conquistador, Tristan de Luna sailed to present day Florida in 1559. His mission from Spain was to conquer the Florida area and establish colonies in the New World.
Where Pensacola stands today, this was the site of Tristan de Luna’s colony. It is one of the earliest known European settlements in the United States. Landing with 1,500 people along with 11 Spanish ships the settlement seemed to have enough resources to succeed. The colony was called Santa Maria de Ochuse and relied on supplies from Spain and Mexico in its early stages. A terrible hurricane destroyed the newborn establishment resulting in the survivors to flee by boat or march northward into present day Alabama. After this dangerous storm encounter the Spanish deemed northwest Florida too risky to settle. The area was abandoned from Spanish establishment for nearly 150 years until the French rediscovered the land in the late 1690s.
This statue was created and placed in commemoration of the 450th anniversary of his establishment. It was completed by Bob Rasmussen a local sculptor and featured in Luna’s hand is the Spanish flag of that time. So check out this nine foot statue next time you are in Pensacola to witness a piece of artwork that depicts this significant historical figure.
The statue and nearby parking is free to visit. Just bring a camera and an energetic smile!
Thanks for reading and keep on truckin’!