Florida History - the history of Florida
   
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Vacation 2 USA   >   Florida   >   History
Vacation 2 USA   >   History   >   Florida History

   
 

Florida History


Native American people are believed to have inhabited Florida for many thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans. These include the Ais, Apalachee, Calusa, Timucua and Tocobago tribes.

The first recorded European visit was by the Spaniard, Juan Ponce de Leon who named Florida in honor of Pascua Florida ("festival of flowers" - Easter) when he discovered the land on April 2nd, 1513. During the next 250 years, competing Spanish, French and later English settlements were established in Florida and there were frequent conflicts, particularly between the English and Spanish.

Britain eventually gained control of the whole of Florida in 1763 as a result of the Peace of Paris. However, Spain regained the area in 1783 in the Treaty of Paris, following Britain's defeat in the American Revolution. Finally, Spain ceded Florida to the United States of America in 1819 in exchange for an American renounciation of any claims on Texas. Florida was eventually admitted as the 27th state of the Union on 3 March 1845.

Florida was a slave state. During the American Civil War (1861 to 1865), Florida was a founding member of the Confederate States of America, and fought with the South.

Until the mid 20th century, Florida was the least populous of the southern states, however following the introduction of air conditioning, and improved transportation links, there has been considerable migration from other states, particularly the Northeast. Today Florida is the 2nd most populous southern state (after Texas), and over all the 4th most populous in the United States. The state is a popular vacation destination, and is also home to the Kennedy Space Center, the NASA space launch facility that has been used for the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttle programs.


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Hidden History of Florida

By James C. Clark

The History Press
Released: 2015-11-02
Paperback (144 pages)

Hidden History of Florida
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Florida has a history as diverse as its residents. And much of that is still hidden. Since the arrival of the Spanish in 1513, the state has played host to strange stories. A heartbroken senator entered a mental institution over unrequited love for an heiress. Thousands of British pilots trained in flight schools across the state. And the true, and darker, story of Pocahontas is linked with the "first barbecue." Author and historian James C. Clark unearths a history hidden beneath swamps and sand for years.

The History of Florida

University Press of Florida
Released: 2018-05-25
Paperback (568 pages)

The History of Florida
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This is the heralded "definitive history" of Florida. No other book so fully or accurately captures the highs and lows, the grandeur and the craziness, the horrors and the glories of the past 500 years in the Land of Sunshine.

Twenty-three leading historians, assembled by renowned scholar Michael Gannon, offer a wealth of perspectives and expertise to create a comprehensive, balanced view of Florida’s sweeping story. The chapters cover such diverse topics as the maritime heritage of Florida, the exploits of the state’s first developers, the astounding population boom of the twentieth century, and the environmental changes that threaten the future of Florida’s beautiful wetlands.

Celebrating Florida’s role at the center of important historical movements, from the earliest colonial interactions in North America to the nation’s social and political climate today, The History of Florida is an invaluable resource on the complex past of this dynamic state.

Contributors: Charles W. Arnade | Canter Brown Jr. | Amy Turner Bushnell | David R. Colburn | William S. Coker | Amy Mitchell-Cook | Jack E. Davis | Robin F. A. Fabel | Michael Gannon | Thomas Graham | John H. Hann | Dr Della Scott-Ireton | Maxine D. Jones | Jane Landers | Eugene Lyon | John K. Mahon | Jerald T. Milanich | Raymond A. Mohl | Gary R. Mormino | Susan Richbourg Parker | George E. Pozzetta | Samuel Proctor | William W. Rogers | Daniel L. Schafer | Jerrell H. Shofner | Dr. Robert A. Taylor | Brent R. Weisman

Cracker: Cracker Culture in Florida History

By Dana M. Ste. Claire

University Press of Florida
Paperback (256 pages)

Cracker: Cracker Culture in Florida History
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What exactly is a “Cracker”? An entertaining, informative look at a slice of old Florida culture.
 
For over 200 years scholars have attempted to define the Crackers, but their name is as elusive as their nature, their character as tough as Florida’s hardscrabble countryside, and any real Cracker will tell you that’s just the way they like it. Part history, part folklore, Cracker is a generously illustrated account of Cracker heritage, its rich history, and its disappearance as today’s fast-paced society reaches even into the remote backwoods of the state.
From the language they spoke to the houses they built, from clandestine moonshine stills and cowhunting to “grits and gravy,” Dana Ste. Claire offers a colorful and revealing tour of Crackerdom.
 
 

A Land Remembered

By Patrick D. Smith

Pineapple Press
Brown Paperback (403 pages)

A Land Remembered
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A Land Remembered has been ranked #1 Best Florida Book eight times in annual polls conducted by Florida Monthly Magazine.

In this best-selling novel, Patrick Smith tells the story of three generations of the MacIveys, a Florida family who battle the hardships of the frontier to rise from a dirt-poor Cracker life to the wealth and standing of real estate tycoons. The story opens in 1858, when Tobias MacIvey arrives in the Florida wilderness to start a new life with his wife and infant son, and ends two generations later in 1968 with Solomon MacIvey, who realizes that the land has been exploited far beyond human need. The sweeping story that emerges is a rich, rugged Florida history featuring a memorable cast of crusty, indomitable Crackers battling wild animals, rustlers, Confederate deserters, mosquitoes, starvation, hurricanes, and freezes to carve a kingdom out of the swamp. But their most formidable adversary turns out to be greed, including finally their own. Love and tenderness are here too: the hopes and passions of each new generation, friendships with the persecuted blacks and Indians, and respect for the land and its wildlife.

A Land Remembered was winner of the Florida Historical Society's Tebeau Prize as the Most Outstanding Florida Historical Novel. Now in its 14th hardcover printing, it has been in print since 1984 and is also available in trade paperback.

Hidden History of the Florida Keys

By Laura Albritton

The History Press
Released: 2018-11-05
Paperback (144 pages)

Hidden History of the Florida Keys
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The Florida Keys have witnessed all kinds of historical events, from the dramatic and the outrageous to the tragic and the comic. In the nineteenth century, uncompromising individuals fought duels and plotted political upsets. During the Civil War, a company of "Key West Avengers" escaped their Union-occupied city to join the Confederacy by sailing through the Bahamas. In the early twentieth century, black Bahamians founded a town of their own, while railway engineers went up against the U.S. Navy in a bid to complete the Overseas Railroad. When Prohibition came to the Keys, one defiant woman established a rumrunning empire that dominated South Florida. Join Laura Albritton and Jerry Wilkinson as they delve into tales of treasure hunters, developers, exotic dancers, determined preservationists and more from the colorful history of the Florida Keys.

Florida: A Short History (Columbus Quincentenary)

By Michael Gannon

University Press of Florida
Paperback (192 pages)

Florida: A Short History (Columbus Quincentenary)
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"An exciting voyage through Florida’s past. . . . Almost every page could make you say, I didn’t know that!"Tampa Tribune

"Gannon’s love for Florida comes through in a marvelous narrative style [that] doesn’t bog down in dates and reams of facts that historians find interesting, but others don’t."--Miami Herald

"First rate . . . desperately needed . . . entertaining . . . fun!"--Orlando Sentinel

"Gannon is a lifelong student of the history of his state, an acclaimed teacher, a masterful and tireless raconteur, and a superb stylist. Florida: A Short History showcases each of these strengths and talents and contains the latest archaeological and historical scholarship."--Florida Historical Quarterly

As if Ponce de León, who happened on the peninsula in 1513, returned today to demand a quick reckoning (“Tell me what happened after I was there, but leave out the boring parts!”), Michael Gannon recounts the longest recorded history of any state in the nation in twenty-seven brisk, fully illustrated chapters.

From indigenous tribes who lived along spring-fed streams to environmentalists who labor to "Save Our Rivers," from the first conquistadors whose broad black ships astonished the natives to the 123,000 refugees whose unexpected immigration stunned South Floridians in 1980, the story of the state is as rich and distinctive as the story of America.

And it’s older than most people think. As Gannon writes, “By the time the Pilgrims came ashore at Plymouth, St. Augustine was up for urban renewal. It was a town with fort, church, seminary, six-bed hospital, fish market, and about 120 shops and houses. Because La Florida stretched north from the Keys to Newfoundland and west to Texas, St. Augustine could claim to be the capital of much of what is now the United States.”

Gannon tells his fast-marching saga in chronological fashion. Starting with the wilderness of the ancient earth, he fills the landscape with Indians, colonists, pioneers, entrepreneurs, politicians, and the panorama of Florida today--“the broad superhighways that wind past horse farms, retirement communities, international airports, launch pads, futuristic attractions, and come to rest, finally, amidst the gleaming towers of Oz?like cities.” This revised edition concludes with a look into the twenty-first century, including “in-migration,” restoration of the Everglades, education, the work force, and the infamous 2000 presidential election.

Michael Gannon is distinguished service professor emeritus of history at the University of Florida. Among other honors, he has received the first Arthur W. Thompson Prize from the Florida Historical Society and the decoration Knight Commander of the Order of Isabel la Católica from King Juan Carlos I of Spain. He is the author of the best-selling Operation Drumbeat and editor of The New History of Florida.

Geologic History of Florida: Major Events that Formed the Sunshine State

By Albert C. Hine

Brand: University Press of Florida
Hardcover (256 pages)

Geologic History of Florida: Major Events that Formed the Sunshine State
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“Hine has provided a brief and readable account of the long, complex history of the geologic development that lies beneath the gentle, low topography of Florida. He shows how many subtle features in the Florida landscape were shaped during this history.”—Paul Enos, University of Kansas


“Seven hundred million years of time go whizzing by in this beautifully illustrated account of Florida’s geologic history. The story centers on the long and intimate relationship between Florida and her enveloping seas, beginning with wandering continents, continuing through the ‘carbonate factory’ in the sea that produced much of the volume of the Florida Peninsula, and ending with the story of sand grains on Florida beaches hundreds of miles from their points of origin. For those curious about their natural surroundings, Albert Hine’s book will surely open a new window and a new appreciation for the complexity and beauty of nature in Florida.”—Orrin Pilkey, coauthor of Global Climate Change: A Primer

The saga of Florida’s geological development started approximately 700 million years ago. It began as the state’s basement rocks migrated nearly 12,600 kilometers from their position within a supercontinent at the Earth’s South Pole to their present location north of the equator, participating in the assembly and disassembly of one of Earth’s greatest supercontinents, Pangea.

In this complete geologic history of the Sunshine State, Albert Hine takes the reader on a journey that begins with the breaking apart of Pangea and ends with the emergence of south Florida and the Keys; explaining the shape and form of the state as we know it today. Geologic History of Florida chronicles the creation of the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, the western Atlantic Ocean, and other major events in Florida’s geologic past. It looks back 160 million years, to a time when the ancient igneous and metamorphic basement rocks were covered by a large sedimentary carbonate platform nearly 3 miles thick, known as the Florida Platform. Today, Florida still rests upon this larger geologic feature, fifty percent of which is submerged. Consequently, the geologic story of the state includes what lies beneath the seafloor as much as it involves the land surface.
         
Writing in a clear and accessible manner, Hine discusses the geologic changes of the Florida Platform, from dissolution tectonics, which formed great underwater caverns and sinkholes, to the plate collision with Cuba. Hine explains geological phenomenon like the influx of quartz-rich sand from the southern Appalachian Mountains that made Florida’s white-sand beaches a destination for tourists from around the world. He examines the state’s phosphate-rich deposits, which account for thirty percent of the world’s phosphate production, and other hot-button issues such as oil drilling and climate change. 
         
With a glossary of essential terms at the end of each chapter, Geologic History of Florida will be an invaluable resource for geologists, students of Earth history, and anyone interested in how the Sunshine State physically came to be.

The Great Book of Florida: The Crazy History of Florida with Amazing Random Facts & Trivia (A Trivia Nerds Guide to the History of the United States) (Volume 4)

By Bill O'Neill

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Paperback (182 pages)

The Great Book of Florida: The Crazy History of Florida with Amazing Random Facts & Trivia (A Trivia Nerds Guide to the History of the United States) (Volume 4)
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Want to learn more about the state of Florida? Sure, you know it’s home to Disney World, but what else do you really know about the Sunshine State? From the strange to the scary, there’s so much to learn about Florida that even natives of the state don’t know. In this trivia book, you’ll learn more about Florida’s history, pop culture, folklore, sports, and so much more!

In The Great Book of Florida, you’ll discover the answers to the following questions:

  • How did Florida get its name?
  • Which former U.S. president helped the country gain control of Florida?
  • Which city in Florida was the only city in America to be founded by a woman?
  • How did spring break get started?
  • What famous pirates buried treasure on and off the coast of Florida?
  • How did Walt Disney keep his plans to build Disney World a secret?
  • Which of the Disney World attractions is said to be haunted?
  • What lighthouse is thought to be one of America’s most haunted?
And so much more!

This book is packed with trivia facts about Florida. Some of the facts are entertaining, some of them will be tragic, and some of them may even scare you a little, but all of them will be interesting! This book is full of everything you’ve ever wondered about Florida and then some.

Whether you’re just learning about Florida or you already think you know everything there is to know about the state, you’re bound to learn something new in each chapter. Your friends will be amazed at your knowledge during your next trivia night. You’ll even impress your history teacher!

So, what are you waiting for? Get started to learn all there is to know about Florida!


Florida Pirates: From the Southern Gulf Coast to the Keys and Beyond

By James Kaserman

The History Press
Released: 2011-11-16
Paperback (128 pages)

Florida Pirates: From the Southern Gulf Coast to the Keys and Beyond
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The coast of southwest Florida, with its shallow waters, inlets, and mangrove islands provides the setting and backdrop for a variety of pirates, privateers, and independents. The history of this region and Florida as a whole is influenced largely by the illegal activities of piracy. Piracy has a long and rich tradition in this area dating from before the formation of America through the infamous prohibition era. Educators, authors, and pirate enthusiasts James and Sarah Kaserman recount the stories, legends and myths that surround piracy in Florida. Telling the tales of Anne Bonny, Calico Jack Rackham, Civil War smugglers and prohibition rum runners, the authors provide a compelling narrative of the historically dangerous waters around Southwest Florida and beyond.

Best. State. Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland

By Dave Barry

G.P. Putnam's Sons
Released: 2017-09-05
Paperback (240 pages)

Best. State. Ever.: A Florida Man Defends His Homeland
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A New York Times bestseller—a brilliantly funny exploration of the Sunshine State from the man who knows it best: Pulitzer Prize winner Dave Barry.

We never know what will happen next in Florida. We know only that, any minute now, something will. Every few months, Dave Barry gets a call from some media person wanting to know, “What the hell is wrong with Florida?” Somehow, the state's acquired an image as a subtropical festival of stupid, and as a loyal Floridian, Dave begs to differ.

Join him as he goes in hunt of the legendary Skunk Ape; hobnobs with the mermaids of Weeki Wachee Springs; and visits Cassadaga, the psychic capital of the world, to have his dog's aura read (apparently, she's "very spiritual"). Hitch a ride for the non-stop thrills of alligator-wrestling ("the gators display the same fighting spirit as a Barcalounger"), the hair-raising spectacle of a clothing-optional bar in Key West, and the manly manliness of the Machine Gun Experience in Miami.

It's the most hilarious book yet from “the funniest damn writer in the whole country” (Carl Hiaasen, and he should know). By the end, you'll have to admit that whatever else you might think about Florida—you can never say it's boring.


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