Florida Maps: Then & Now

Florida Maps: Then & Now is an animated map series from the State Library and Archives of Florida. The project uses Google Earth to create animated videos using historic and modern maps, photographs, and primary source documents from our collections.



Welcome to Florida Maps: Then & Now, an animated map series from the State Archives of Florida. This episode highlights historic maps of Jacksonville.

Long before concrete and steel spanned the St. Johns River near downtown Jacksonville, the Timucuan chief Saturiwa (Sat-ur-e-ba [IPA: Sæt-ur-ih-bah]) presided over the area shown on this map, from the confirmed Spanish Land Grant of Ezekiel Hudnall. This Westward bend in the St. Johns sits upstream from the French built Fort Caroline, destroyed and then rebuilt by the Spanish and christened Fort San Mateo in the 1560s.

By the 18th century, just decades after diseases and slave raids vanquished the Timucua, Seminole cattlemen drove their herds across the river at this narrow spot along the St. Johns River. Called Waca-Palatka (wack-a-pill-at-ka [IPA:Wak-ʌ-pæl-ɑt-kɑ]) by the Seminoles, and Cow ford by English speaking settlers, the area served as a natural point to wade and ferry cattle to eager buyers. The Americans renamed the area Jacksonville in the 1820s after Andrew Jackson, hero of the First Seminole War and the territory’s first governor.

Jackson’s policies eventually led to the removal of Seminole Indians from the area, and forced those few that remained in Florida into the deep recesses of the Everglades. Jacksonville became the hub of commerce in Northeast Florida by the time of the American Civil War. After the war, Jacksonville continued to grow and expand on both sides of the St. Johns River.

Commercial needs in the 20th century dictated the deepening of the St. Johns. Docks and piers proliferated along the water’s edge, as well as seawalls to hold back the water from the growing city. This Eastward facing point is now the site of EverBank Field—the home of the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Gator Bowl, and the annual Florida-Georgia rivalry game.

For more information about historic maps and other resources from the State Archives of Florida, visit FloridaMemory.com. In addition, Google Earth Maps from this series are available for download.


All photographic images reside in the Florida Photographic Collection, State Archives of Florida, Tallahassee: PR08372; RC0-470.

Bartram, William. “Mico Chlucco the Long Warrior or King of the Siminoles,” in Travels… Philadelphia, PA: James & Johnson, 1791.

Colton, Joseph Hutchins. “Colton’s Florida.” Richmond, VA: Johnson & Browning, 1855.

Confirmed Land Grant of Domingo Acosta. Series 991: Confirmed Spanish Land Grant Claims, 1763-1821, box 1, folder 1. State Archives of Florida, Tallahassee.

Mackay, John. “Map of the Seat of War in Florida.” United States Army Headquarters, Army of the South, 1839.

Webber, Carl. The Eden of the South… New York: Leve & Alden, 1883.

Wells, Harvey S. Map of the Arredondo Land Grant, 1975. M76-120, State Archives of Florida, Tallahassee.

Google Earth Files

The map layers associated with this video are available for download in the KMZ file format. Download Jacksonville.kmz (91MB). This file format requires the free Google Earth software.

For more information about available Florida Maps: Then and Now in the KMZ format and for help using Google Earth visit our Google Earth page.