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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The History of Florida

University Press of Florida
Released: 2018-05-22
Hardcover (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

The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise

By Michael Grunwald

Simon & Schuster
Released: 2007-03-27
Paperback (480 pages)

The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise
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The Everglades was once reviled as a liquid wasteland, and Americans dreamed of draining it. Now it is revered as a national treasure, and Americans have launched the largest environmental project in history to try to save it.

The Swamp is the stunning story of the destruction and possible resurrection of the Everglades, the saga of man's abuse of nature in southern Florida and his unprecedented efforts to make amends. Michael Grunwald, a prize-winning national reporter for The Washington Post, takes readers on a riveting journey from the Ice Ages to the present, illuminating the natural, social and political history of one of America's most beguiling but least understood patches of land.

The Everglades was America's last frontier, a wild country long after the West was won. Grunwald chronicles how a series of visionaries tried to drain and “reclaim” it, and how Mother Nature refused to bend to their will; in the most harrowing tale, a 1928 hurricane drowned 2,500 people in the Everglades. But the Army Corps of Engineers finally tamed the beast with levees and canals, converting half the Everglades into sprawling suburbs and sugar plantations. And though the southern Everglades was preserved as a national park, it soon deteriorated into an ecological mess. The River of Grass stopped flowing, and 90 percent of its wading birds vanished.

Now America wants its swamp back. Grunwald shows how a new breed of visionaries transformed Everglades politics, producing the $8 billion rescue plan. That plan is already the blueprint for a new worldwide era of ecosystem restoration. And this book is a cautionary tale for that era. Through gripping narrative and dogged reporting, Grunwald shows how the Everglades is still threatened by the same hubris, greed and well-intentioned folly that led to its decline.

A Land Remembered

By Patrick D. Smith

Pineapple Press
Brown Paperback (403 pages)

A Land Remembered
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  • ISBN13: 9781561641161
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Product Description:

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 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.

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.

Last Train to Paradise: Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Railroad that Crossed an Ocean

By Les Standiford

Standiford, Les
Released: 2003-08-05
Paperback (320 pages)

Last Train to Paradise: Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Railroad that Crossed an Ocean
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The fast-paced and gripping true account of the extraordinary construction and spectacular demise of the Key West Railroad—one of the greatest engineering feats ever undertaken, destroyed in one fell swoop by the strongest storm ever to hit U.S. shores.

In 1904, the brilliant and driven entrepreneur Henry Flagler, partner to John D. Rockefeller, dreamed of a railway connecting the island of Key West to the Florida mainland, crossing a staggering 153 miles of open ocean—an engineering challenge beyond even that of the Panama Canal. Many considered the project impossible, but build it they did. The railroad stood as a magnificent achievement for more than twenty-two years, heralded as “the Eighth Wonder of the World,” until its total destruction in 1935's deadly storm of the century. 

In Last Train to Paradise, Standiford celebrates this crowning achievement of Gilded Age ambition, bringing to life a sweeping tale of the powerful forces of human ingenuity colliding with the even greater forces of nature’s wrath.

Tales of Old Florida

Brand: Castle Books
Hardcover (477 pages)

Tales of Old Florida
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One hundred years ago, Florida was a wilderness of swamp and beach, dense forest and abundant wild game. Undiscovered, except for a few pioneer sportsmen and hearty farmers and ranchers, the state was still a frontier. True, a few towns flourished on the fishing and the Caribbean trade, but it was generally a sleepy place, far removed from the later boom of the 1920s.

Here is a collection of original articles and stories of the old Florida, of hunters and Indians, the development of the sportsman's paradise, the vast canvas of nature prior to the coming of the condominium.

Illustrated with rare drawings, photographs and engravings, this book will recreate a paradise that can never be again.

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.
 
 

Weird Florida: Your Travel Guide to Florida's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets

By Charlie Carlson

Carlson, Charlie/ Sceurman, Mark (EDT)/ Moran, Mark (DST)
Paperback (240 pages)

Weird Florida: Your Travel Guide to Florida s Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets
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Praise for Weird Florida:

 

“…this series is distinguished by its focus on stories over places and its colorful photos.”  

                                                                                                                   —Library Journal

A Culinary History of Florida: Prickly Pears, Datil Peppers & Key Limes (American Palate)

By Joy Sheffield Harris

The History Press
Released: 2014-10-07
Paperback (160 pages)

A Culinary History of Florida: Prickly Pears, Datil Peppers & Key Limes (American Palate)
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From the very first prickly pears harvested by Paleo-Indians more than twelve thousand years ago to the Seminole tribe's staple dish of sofkee, Florida's culinary history is as diverse as its geography. Italian, French, Creole, Spanish, Cuban, Greek, Mexican, Minorcan and Caribbean influences season southern, soul and Cracker foods to make up Florida's eclectic flavors. Learn how Florida orange juice changed the look of the American breakfast table and discover the state's festival-worthy swamp cabbage. Through syllabubs, perloos, frog legs and Tupelo honey, author Joy Sheffield Harris serves up a delectable helping of five hundred years of Florida cuisine--all with a side of key lime pie, of course.


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