Perdido Key is an unincorporated community in Escambia County, Florida, United States, between Pensacola, Florida and Orange Beach, Alabama. "Perdido" means "lost" in the Spanish and Portuguese languages. The community is located on and named for Perdido Key, a barrier island in northwest Florida and southeast Alabama. The Florida district of the Gulf Islands National Seashore includes the east end of the island, as well as other Florida islands. No more than a few hundred yards wide in most places, Perdido Key stretches some 16 miles (26 km) from near Pensacola to Perdido Pass Bridge near Orange Beach.
From the beginning of the 17th century, Spanish and French explorers, imagining riches in the New World, began colonizing the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico. A Spanish expedition from Vera Cruz, Mexico had settled on what became known as Santa Rosa Island on Panzacola Bay, named after the indigenous people, later known as the Pensacola Indians. Panzacola means "the village of hairy people." The French developed a settlement along the coast near Maubila (Mobile). They were competing in this area. Explorers from both countries had heard of a great mysterious body of water to the west of Pensacola, but they were unable to find the entrance.
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