Throughout history different communities have come and gone, but people have always flocked and thrived in the area now known as Gainesville.
First it was the Timucuans, a proud group of hunters and farmers, living off the vast fertile soil of Paynes Prairie.
In the 1500's, Spanish explorers, perhaps most notably, Hernando DeSoto, plundered this area and its native settlers. Franciscan missions and vast cattle ranches soon arrived, but by the 1700s the Spanish found it difficult and costly to maintain dominance in the region, unable to stop the influx of English settlers and the Seminole Indian tribe. Subsequent skirmishes and the establishment of the Florida railroad through the interior of the state brought new settlements and trading to the area. Around this time, Gainesville was named in honor of General Edmund P. Gaines, commander of U.S. Army troops in Florida during the Second Seminole War.
The town grew steadily thanks to the Florida Railroad Company extending its line from Cedar Key to Fernandina Beach, Florida. But the real boom began when the Florida Legislature created the University of Florida, today one of the largest universities in the United States. The development of this educational institution brought an influx of young students, cultural programs and a major medical center, enabling the city to continue steady growth even in the depths of the Great Depression and World War II.
The University and Gainesville have continued to grow together, each complimenting the other. Both instilling a unique brand of passion and pride passed down from generation to generation. Submerge yourself into history during a weekend getaway to North Florida.