Escambia County was created by European Americans on July 21, 1821. It was named for the Escambia River. The name "Escambia" may be derived from the Creek name Shambia, meaning "clearwater", or the Choctaw word for "cane-brake" or "reed-brake".
Created on the same date, Escambia and St. Johns counties were Florida's two original counties. The Suwanee River was the border between them, which follows a winding path from the northern border of the state to the Gulf of Mexico. Essentially, the Escambia county government had jurisdiction over the "panhandle" and "big bend" areas and St. Johns over the remainder of the entire state. 21 Counties were created from Escambia county directly or indirectly. They include Jackson (1821), Gadsden (created from Jackson)(1823), Leon (1824), Walton (1824), Washington (created from Jackson and Walton)(1825), Hamilton (1827), Jefferson (1827), Madison (created from Jefferson) (1827), Franklin (1832), Calhoun (1838), Santa Rosa (1842), Wakulla (created from Leon) (1843), Holmes (created from Jackson and Walton) (1848), Liberty (created from Gadsden) (1855), Lafayette and Taylor (created from Madison) (1856), Bay (created from Washington) (1913), Okaloosa (created from Santa Rosa and Walton) (1915), Dixie (created from Lafayette) (1921), and Gulf (created from Calhoun) (1925). The area over which the county government would have jurisdiction has decreased with the creation of many other counties in Florida, which number sixty-seven in 2013.
Note: Escambia's 1830 population comprises 2,518 "west of Escambia River, including Saint Rosa Island" and 868 "between Yellow and Escambia Rivers"; part of this area was in Walton County.