Florida History Facts

Florida History Facts

Florida History Facts

This article 'Florida History Facts' is about the history of US second southernmost sunny state Florida.  

Florida Formation

In the past millions of years ago, almost all part of Florida was under water. Florida came into existence by the Collison of African plate and North American Plate about 200 million years ago. At that time it was under the shallow sea. About 23 million years ago, as the sea level dropped, some part of Florida started to emerge out of it. About 2 million years ago Florida was about two-thirds of its current size. During the peak of last ice age, Sea level was 300 feet lower than today that increased Florida about three times of its today size. In future, Florida may sink again; in case polar ice melt as the result of global warming.

Pre Colombian Florida

Florida has been inhabited for thousands of years. PaleoIndians were the first inhabitant of Florida. By the time European came in America major tribes in Florida were, Apalachee, Calusa, Tocobaga, and Mayaimi. Like other discovered area European brought their diseases here as well against that natives had no immunity and it caused thousands of indigenous deaths.

Juan Ponce discovered Florida

A Spanish explorer Juan Ponce discovered Florida. In 1493, he came to America with Christopher Columbus on his second voyage and settled in Caribbean island Hispaniola. In 1506, he discovered Puerto Rico and its governor for two years. In 1513 he discovered Florida and named it La Florida means "place of flowers." Later he discovered Dry Tortugas Island as well.

Early settlement attempts

In 1521, he established a small colony that could not last long, he got wounded by native Indians and died in Cuba due to these injuries.

Later in 1528 another unsuccessful Spanish effort made by Pánfilo de Narváez arrived.

Later another Spanish de Soto came to Florida in 1538 and explored Florida Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, South and North  Carolina, he even reached Arkansas area in search of gold.

French Settlement in Florida

In the second half of 16th century (1564) French Huguenot (Protestants) established a colony in Florida, near the Jacksonville.

First Permanent Settlement in North America

In 1565, Spain established the first permanent European settlement in North America in St. Augustine. Soon they threw the French out of the peninsula. In the last quarter of 1500s Spanish St. Augustine colony suffered a couple of Attacks by Britain led by Sir Francis Drake. Nor Spanish survived such attacks but they ruled over Florida about 300 years. Here remember that Spanish Florida included southern parts of current day Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana

Spanish Florida Facts

"Florida History"

British Florida

In the Seven year war that was fought from 1756 to 1763, Britain captured the Havana. In 1763, Spain gave up the control of Florida to get back the Havana and surrounding area. Soon Britain get involved in US independence war. Florida remained loyal to Britain. In fact, by the end of war, many loyalist from the southern US states had moved to Florida. In 1781, Spain recaptured west Florida. After the war, with the defeat of Britain, Spain regained entire Florida in 1783 as the result of Treaty of Paris.

First Seminole War

After the 1812, US fought a series of wars against Seminole Indians who helped Britain in the war and were involved in hiding the escaped slaves. The First Seminole War fought in 1817 - 1818 in Spanish Florida. Andrew Jackson who later became US 7th president had led US forces. He even attacked and captured some part of Florida.  

Purchase of Florida

At this time Spain who was facing rebellions in his Latin American territories and was not able to do much against US interference in Florida border areas during The First Seminole War. It started negotiation to sell Florida to US, which had an old desire to annex Florida. In 1819, as the result of Adams-Onis Treaty US purchased Florida in exchange of $5,000,000 and relinquished its claims on parts of Spanish Texas.        

More Seminole Wars

After the annexation of Florida, first according to Treaty of Moultrie Creek Seminole were forced to move south in reserved areas and were agreed to stop hiding runaway slaves. Later during the presidency of Andrew Jackson, Indian Removal Act was passed. Seminoles were asked to leave Florida and relocate to the west of the Mississippi River. Seminole refused and fought against Americans under the leadership of a brave warrior Osceola. Earlier, despite being pushed more towards south they caused losses to Americans but later when Osceola was captured and died, Seminoles could not fight long. This second Seminole war fought from 1835 to 1842. Many Seminole killed and most of the remaining relocated to west in reserved territories. Later, third Seminole war was fought from 1855 to 1858, its surviving Seminole moved to Everglades wetland and even now Indians can be found there.

Florida State

Florida became US territory in 1821. In 1945, Florida was admitted as a slave State in the Union together with Iowa as a free state, to keep the balance. By that time 45% of the population was slaves. Florida was the 27th state of the union.  

Civil War

In the Civil, War Florida sided with the Southern States. It seceded from the Union and joined Confederacy in 1861. It was the major foreign supply route and this later faced blockade to prevent supplies. In After the civil war, in 1968, it was readmitted into the Union in 1868.


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