Before you go somewhere on vacation, it can be nice to know a little backstory about the history of the area. You want to respect and understand the history of a town, city, or natural area before visiting so you can truly appreciate what is right in front of you. And Anna Maria Island is no different. AMI is home to thousands of years of history that will change the way you look at this incredible beach, with its white sand, bright blue waves, mouthwatering seafood restaurants, and ample activities for you and your family. Before it became what it is today – a burgeoning tourist destination and a local favorite – there was a lot that happened: learn about the history of Anna Maria Island.
Originally, the island was inhabited by Native American tribes who claimed the land and lived there. Before the first European settlers, the tribes were able to forage, eat seafood, and live peacefully. Like most places in the United States, this was soon changed when European settlers (or invaders) began to migrate from Europe to the ‘New World’.
Hernando de Soto passed through Anna Maria Island in the early 16th century, which was then later settled by Madison Post. Madison Post named the island after his family, his sister, Anna, and his wife, Maria. Despite other locals coming and going from the island over time, the first official, and permanent, resident was known as George Emerson Bean.
George Bean – The Original Resident
George Bean created his home and staked out his land in the area we now know as Bean Point, a popular beach and natural park that features expansive views and unsoiled gems. This scenic area on the northern end of the island is very popular among tourists today due to the far-reaching views, bright blue waves, and white sand.
George Bean actually built his house on the land, which is today the Rod and Reel Pier – arguably one of the best seafood restaurants in the entire town to get freshly caught fish, strong drinks, and good vibes!
Throughout the years, Bean began creating the foundational settlement and laying the groundwork for what later would become the City of Anna Maria. After his death at the end of the 19th century, the ownership of his land was claimed by his son. His son, George Wilhelm Bean, partnered in business with Charles Roser to expand his wealth and develop the island.
Plan an Insightful Vacation to Anna Maria Island
As you walk around Anna Maria Island, make sure you pay respects to the Native American tribes and the brave settlers who came here in times past!