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The area was originally inhabited by the Timucua people, and in 1564 was the site of the French colony of Fort Caroline, one of the earliest European settlements in what is now the continental United States.
Under British rule, settlement grew at the narrow point in the river where cattle crossed, known as Wacca Pilatka to the Seminole and the Cow Ford to the British.
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.
In the 16th century, the beginning of the historical era, the region was inhabited by the Mocama, a coastal subgroup of the Timucua people.The location of Fort Caroline is subject to debate but a reconstruction of the fort was established on the St. Spain ceded Florida to the British in 1763 after the French and Indian War, and the British soon constructed the King's Road connecting St. The British introduced the cultivation of sugar cane, indigo and fruits, as well the export of lumber.As a result, the northeastern Florida area prospered economically more than it had under the Spanish.In March 1864 a Confederate cavalry confronted a Union expedition in the Battle of Cedar Creek.Warfare and the long occupation left the city disrupted after the war.
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Ribault erected a stone column at the site, claiming the newly discovered land for France.