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Professor Jimmy Wilson presents paper at Historical GIS Conference

Professor Jimmy Wilson presented a paper at the Historical GIS Conference in Essex, England this past August (19-22). The conference attracted over 200 attendees from around the world, including historical geographers and others interested in the application of GIS to historical research. My presentation summarized a portion of my multi-disciplinary research on urban and rural growth and development immediately before the end of the colonial period in Pensacola, and the title of my presentation was “The Development of Spanish Colonial Pensacola, 1791-1821.”

Abstract: Pensacola evolved through the second Spanish period (1781-1821) from a fledgling military outpost to an increasingly complex urban center. Local and regional demographic trends and environmental conditions prompted Pensacola to evolve through three phases of urban development. This morphogenesis grew from a small colonial military town and scant landowning class congregated near the central fort before the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, to a more traditional Spanish administrative regional center with increased population after the Purchase, to a town threatened by American influence and speculation after 1816. Pensacola’s residential and landowning patterns never experienced the degree of socioeconomic residential clustering noted in other Spanish colonial urban centers. Middle-class whites made up the overwhelming majority of landowners and owned property in every section of town, while elites and lower-class families bought less land in Pensacola and lived interspersed throughout the residential section. An historical geography GIS case study, this research illuminates the morphogenesis of Spanish colonial Pensacola between 1781 and 1821.

Jimmy Wilson