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Florida received its name from the explorer Ponce de Leon, who landed in 1513 on the festival day called the Feast of Flowers. He was sure that Florida was a land filled with gold and that the Fountain of Youth was somewhere within it. He failed to find his objectives on his first expedition. When he returned in 1521, he came into conflict with the natives and suffered a fatal wound.
The Spanish explored Florida and built settlements at St. Augustine in 1565 and at Pensacola in 1696. In 1753, control of Florida was ceded to the British. At that time, Florida included parts of what are now Mississippi and Alabama. Subsequently, Florida was returned to the Spanish in 1783, who gave the western part to France in 1795. The United States and Spain engaged in repeated conflicts, including the case of Arbuthnot and Ambrister, over possession of Florida until 1819, when Spain sold its claims to the United States for $5 million.
In 1845, Florida was admitted to the Union. In January 1861, Florida seceded and joined the Confederacy. After the Civil War, it rejoined the Union as state in 1868.
During the great Florida land boom of 1925 and 1926, land values soared to incredible heights, only to fall back when economic reality set in. The great hurricane of 1935 cost 300 people their lives.
Since the Cuban revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power, many Cuban refugees have settled the Miami area. Their undying opposition to Castro's regime has influenced the United States to maintain its economic boycott of Cuba. Florida's pleasant climate continues to attract retirees, which has resulted in Florida having the highest average age of any state. In the 2000 presidential election, the disputed results from Florida resulted in an Electoral College victory for George W. Bush.
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Florida in World War II Floating Fortress by Nick Wynne and Richard Moorhead.
Few realize what a vital role World War II and Florida played in each other’s history. The war helped Florida move past its southern conservative ment...
The Greatest Railroad Story Ever Told Henry Flagler & the Florida East Coast Railway’s Key West Extension by Seth H. Bramson.
Although several people had considered constructing a railroad to Key West beginning in the early 1800s, it took a bold industrialist with unparallele...
Wings Over Florida by Lynn M. Homan, Thomas Reilly.
Florida’s contribution to aviation history cannot be overestimated. Wings over Florida chronicles the story of flying in the “Sunshine State,” from th...
Florida's Shipwrecks by Michael Barnette.
The Sunshine State has a rich maritime history spanning more than five centuries. Tragically, part of that history includes thousands of ships that ha...
A History of Florida Forts, Florida's Lonely Outposts by Alejandro M. de Quesada.
Featuring the history of Florida's forts from the colonial period, Seminole Wars, Civil War and twentieth century, this fascinating book by Florida mi...
Too Close to Call: The Thirty-Six-Day Battle to Decide the 2000 Election by Jeffrey Toobin.
From the best-selling author of A Vast Conspiracy and The Run of His Life comes Too Close to Call--the definitive story of the Bush-Gore presidential ...