Shortly after Ponce de Leon discovered La Florida in 1513, early Spanish settlers found a large and sheltered bay on the Gulf of Mexico. The bay became known as Pensacola after the Penzacola Indians who lived along the shore. In 1698, the first permanent colony was established by pioneers who recognized the strategic importance of a fine harbor with protective barrier islands and a high bluff, or barranca, on the mainland across from a defensible mouth. For centuries the bay was fortified and refortified. Battles raged in four wars, and five nations raised their flags along the harbor. Pensacola Bay: A Military History traces the rich military history of the bay from Spanish times to the present-day Naval Air Station Pensacola, home of the Navy's Blue Angels. The book presents over 200 black-and-white images that highlight the acquisition of Florida by the United States in 1821, the construction of fortifications and naval installations, the Civil War, both World Wars, the Old Navy Yard, the Naval Air Station, and present-day military activity.