Sebastian's exciting lore begins In 1715, with a fleet of twelve ships from the Spanish fleet. They set out from Havana loaded with treasure, but a hurricane drove them into the coast of Florida between St. Lucie and Sebastian Inlets. Their cargo of gold, silver, jewelry and other artifacts were lost in the wreck, waiting for discovery centuries later. By the 1870s, Sebastian gained notoriety as a successful fishing village. Our rich natural resources have made Sebastian the proud home of the nation's first National Wildlife Refuge. Established in 1903 by President Teddy Roosevelt to protect pelicans and other avian species, this sanctuary became known as Pelican Island by the signing of an order making it the first Wildlife Refuge in the country. We'd love for you to come and see all the native beauty that makes Sebastian such a gem!