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is the westernmost coastal community in the Florida Panhandle and Pensacola is the county seat of Escambia County, Florida, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 51,923. Pensacola is the principal city of the Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent Metropolitan Statistical Area, an area with about 455,102 residents in 2009.
Pensacola was founded in 1559 by a Spanish explorer named Tristán de Luna y Arellano. It was officially America's first settlement. After about 116 years of Spanish rule, the French took control over Pensacola from 1719 to 1722. The colony was then passed to the British who seized control of Pensacola temporarily through the Peace of Paris. Pensacola was also named the capital of the new British Colony. During the Civil War, Pensacola was a part of the Confederacy. The United States later regained control, and Pensacola was once again a part of the union on May 1862.
Pensacola is a sea port on Pensacola Bay, which connects to the Gulf of Mexico. A large United States Naval Air Station, the first in the United States, is located southwest of Pensacola (near the community of Warrington) and is home to the Blue Angels flight demonstration team and the National Naval Aviation Museum. The main campus of the University of West Florida is situated north of the city center.
Pensacola is nicknamed "The City of Five Flags" due to the five governments that have flown flags over it during its history: the flags of Spain (Castile), France, Great Britain, the Confederate States of America, and the United States. Other nicknames include "World's Whitest Beaches" (due to the white sand prevalent along beaches in the Florida panhandle), "Cradle of Naval Aviation" (Naval Air Station Pensacola is the home of both the legendary Blue Angels and the National Museum of Naval Aviation), "Western Gate to the Sunshine State", "America's First Settlement", "Emerald Coast", "Redneck Riviera", "Red Snapper Capital of the World", and "P-Cola".