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The city's history dates back to the early 19th century, when a small group of settlers arrived on the shore of West Bay. The area was ravaged by several yellow fever epidemics, which caused many residents to leave. After it was incorporated in 1910 as Panama City, local citizens discovered that Panama City had once been home to a Native American tribe called the Ais people (or Ays). They were known for having created large shell mounds near present-day Fort Walton Beach and Destin; some are preserved today at Shell Mound Park in nearby Fort Walton Beach. In 1836 William Tappan Thompson relocated from his plantation on St. Joseph's Island (now part of Gulf Islands National Seashore) into an unfinished house left behind by former slave trader Jesse Fish and named this new settlement "Panama".