Florida was one of the first states to embrace the automobile, with the first auto race in the state taking place in 1904. Today, Florida is still known for its car culture, with numerous car shows and events taking place throughout the year.
Santa Rosa County, Florida, located in the northwest region of the state, has a rich and diverse history. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Creek and Choctaw peoples, before European colonization. The first European settlers arrived in the 16th century, as Spanish explorers and missionaries made contact with the local native tribes.

In the late 18th century, Spain ceded Florida to the United States, and the region of Santa Rosa County became part of the new territory. Over the years, the area's economy transitioned from primarily agricultural to more diversified industries. In the late 19th century, timber and lumber became major industries in the county, fostering economic growth and development.

Santa Rosa County played a role in the Civil War, with the Battle of Santa Rosa Island taking place in 1861. Union forces successfully defended the island from Confederate attempts to capture it. Following the war, the county slowly rebuilt and continued to grow. In the early 20th century, the discovery of oil in the region led to further economic expansion.

Today, Santa Rosa County is known for its beautiful beaches, historical landmarks, and strong military presence. The county is home to the Gulf Islands National Seashore, offering pristine coastline and outdoor recreational opportunities. Additionally, the Naval Air Station Whiting Field, located in Santa Rosa County, serves as a key training base for naval aviators. The county continues to thrive as a popular tourist destination, while also preserving its unique history and natural beauty.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Santa Rosa County, Florida.

  • 1821 - Santa Rosa County is established as a county in the territory of Florida.
  • 1822 - The first permanent settlement, known as Floridatown, is established in the area.
  • 1844 - Milton becomes the county seat of Santa Rosa County.
  • 1861-1865 - Santa Rosa County, like the rest of the South, is greatly affected by the American Civil War.
  • 1916 - The city of Gulf Breeze is incorporated.
  • 1925 - The Garcon Point Bridge, connecting Santa Rosa County to southern Escambia County, is completed.
  • 1963 - Hurricane Flora causes significant damage to Santa Rosa County.
  • 1997 - Hurricane Opal strikes the area, causing extensive destruction and loss of life.
  • 2010 - The Deepwater Horizon oil spill affects the coastline of Santa Rosa County.
  • 2019 - Hurricane Sally makes landfall in Santa Rosa County, resulting in widespread flooding and damage.