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city, Okaloosa county, northwestern Florida, U.S. It lies at the western end of Choctawhatchee Bay (an arm of the Gulf of Mexico), on Santa Rosa Sound (separated from the gulf by Santa Rosa Island), about 40 miles (65 km) east of Pensacola. The fort was established during the Seminole Wars and named for Colonel George Walton, territorial secretary of West Florida (1821-22) and East-West Florida (1822-26). The settlement became known as Camp Walton during the American Civil War-when a Confederate contingent was organized there to guard the sound-and, after the war, as Brooks Landing for settler John Thomas Brooks. The settlement later evolved as a resort and yachting centre. Created as a municipality called Fort Walton in 1937, it was reincorporated in 1941 as a town; it was rechartered in 1947 and in 1953, when it was renamed the City of Fort Walton Beach. Its population grew rapidly in the first few decades after World War II.