Gulf Islands National Seashore tells unique stories of the people and places that shaped the United States of America.
The Gulf of Mexico has shaped – and still shapes – American history and culture. During the age of exploration and colonization, Europeans entered the Gulf and laid claim to the New World. Deepwater anchorages at Pensacola Bay in Florida and at Ship Island in Mississippi supported Spanish, French, and British development along the northern Gulf Coast. The annexation of coastal Mississippi territories in 1804 and Spain ceded its Florida territories to the United States in 1819 setting the stage for the series of events which define American history and established protections for natural and cultural resources preserved by the national seashore.
From General Andrew Jackson’s military conquests of Pensacola, to the celebrated artwork of Walter Anderson, to your first splash into the Gulf’s warm emerald waters, people shape and are shaped by the Gulf of Mexico. This complex and storied history motivated Americans in the 20th century to advocate for the creation of Gulf Islands National Seashore, which was established by Congress on January 8, 1971. What follows is for you to help create.