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Harbor improvements since the late 19th century have made Jacksonville a major military and civilian deep-water port.
Its riverine location facilitates Naval Station Mayport, Naval Air Station Jacksonville, the U. Marine Corps Blount Island Command, and the Port of Jacksonville, Florida's third largest seaport.
The area of the modern city of Jacksonville has been inhabited for thousands of years.
On Black Hammock Island in the national Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, a University of North Florida team discovered some of the oldest remnants of pottery in the United States, dating to 2500 BC.
After Spain ceded the Florida Territory to the United States in 1821, American settlers on the north side of the Cow Ford decided to plan a town, laying out the streets and plats.
The city was blockaded by Union forces, who gained control of nearby Fort Clinch.In 1564, René Goulaine de Laudonnière established the first European settlement, Fort Caroline, on the St. Philip II of Spain ordered Pedro Menéndez de Avilés to protect the interest of Spain by attacking the French presence at Fort Caroline.On September 20, 1565, a Spanish force from the nearby Spanish settlement of St.Augustine became popular winter resorts for the rich and famous.Visitors arrived by steamboat and later by railroad.