Plaza Ferdinand VII
On July 17, 1821 the official transfer of the Florida territory from Spain to the United States took place. Spanish Governor Don José María Callava and General Andrew Jackson—who would be President from 1829-1837—met at the the Government House, where City Hall is now located, and descended the steps and walked between lines of American and Spanish soldiers. The Spanish flag was lowered and the U.S. flag was raised in its place. Jackson was then sworn in as Governor. Two other ceremonies took place previously but this one was the only one in which the Spanish Governor participated. Immediately after the U.S. flag was raised, Jackson officially proclaimed Florida an American territory. The ceremony was the culmination of a two year negotiation period, ending with the signing of the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819 (it is also known as the Transcontinental Treaty) on February 22, 1821. The plaza was designated a National Landmark in 1960.
Backstory and Context
In 2002, archaeologists uncovered on park grounds previously unknown British-made structures when West Florida and Pensacola was British territory until Spanish forces wrested control of the territory from England during the American Revolution. Annually on New Year's, a "Pelican Drop" takes place in the park, where the Pelican, rather than a ball, drops during the countdown.