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

Michael Gannon
Hardcover (568 pages)

The History of Florida
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Praise for the previous edition:

 

“A major new history.”—Miami Herald

 

“A jewel.”—Tallahassee Democrat

 

“The standard reference.”—Orlando Sentinel

 

“As interesting as it is informative.”—Naples Daily News

 

“Florida is as much a state of mind as it is a slice of land between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. . . . Florida could become a place of civic texture if we understand its past. Professor Gannon’s book is a good place to begin.”—St. Petersburg Times

 

“Incorporates much of the new scholarship that has appeared over the last twenty or so years, much of the best of it exploring the lives of African-Americans, Indians, and Florida’s common white folk. . . . For those interested in seeking out the multifaceted aspects of their native or adopted state, this is the place to start.”—Tampa Tribune




This is the definitive history of the state where prehistoric societies once flourished between the Atlantic and the Gulf, where Europeans built the town of St. Augustine years before Jamestown and Plymouth existed, and where travelers from around the world now come by the millions to vacation each year. This is the multifaceted saga of Florida, one of the most fascinating states in America.


Twenty-three leading historians, assembled by renowned scholar Michael Gannon, come together in this volume, offering a wealth of perspectives and expertise to create a comprehensive, balanced view of Florida’s sweeping story. This thought-provoking narrative is essential reading for understanding the last 500 years in the Land of Sunshine.


Discover pre-Columbian Florida and learn what the landscape was like when the first European explorers arrived. Journey through the history of immigration and ethnicity in Florida, the lives of the Seminole and Miccosukee peoples, and the societies of free and enslaved Africans in the state. Follow Florida from U.S. statehood in 1845 to the Civil War, through the Great Depression, World War II, and into today’s political arena. The chapters in this volume 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.

 

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.

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

By Charlie Carlson

Charlie Carlson
Paperback (240 pages)

Weird Florida: Your Travel Guide to Florida s Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets
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“…this series is distinguished by its focus on stories over places and its colorful photos.”  

                                                                                                                   —Library Journal

A Land Remembered

By Patrick D. Smith

Pineapple Press
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.

A Concise History of Florida (Brief History)

By James C. Clark

The History Press
Released: 2014-09-23
Paperback (256 pages)

A Concise History of Florida (Brief History)
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In 1513, Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon first set foot on Florida's east coast. The land he discovered was a geographic anomaly so distinctive that astronaut Neil Armstrong said Florida was the first shape on earth he recognized on his return from a visit to the moon 456 years later. This unique state witnessed momentous events from the 1959 arrival of the first Cuban exiles under Fidel Castro to the 1981 launch of the "Columbia," the first space shuttle. Join author and historian James C. Clark as he chronicles the history of the Sunshine State in this concise and captivating history.

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.

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.
 
 

Gladesmen: Gator Hunters, Moonshiners, and Skiffers (Florida History and Culture)

By Glen Simmons

Glen Simmons
Paperback (224 pages)

Gladesmen: Gator Hunters, Moonshiners, and Skiffers (Florida History and Culture)
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“An homage to the rugged ‘swamp rats’ who were largely overlooked or scorned by the region’s historians, naturalists, and adventurers.”—Miami Herald

“Documents an aspect of Florida history and culture of which far too little has been written. . . . [Gladesmen] is alive with South Florida history and spiced with Simmons’ understated humor and world view.”—Folk Winds

“Contains interesting tales of outlaws, moonshiners and other characters—some who lived on the edge of right and wrong—and roamed the inhospitable backcountry prairies of soft muck and massive mosquitoes.”—South Dade News Leader

“We Floridians sometimes . . . long for the simple life of pioneers and wonder how we would manage ‘living off the land.’ This book serves as a slap in the face of such fantasy.”—St. Petersburg Times

“Simmons tells us that he is no hero, but he is the stuff of Daniel Boone, Davey Crockett, Jim Bridger, and Alfred Wallace.”—Florida Frontier Gazette

“Simmons is Florida’s answer to Huckleberry Finn.”—Georgia Historical Quarterly

Florida Soul: From Ray Charles to KC and the Sunshine Band

By John Capouya

University Press of Florida
Released: 2017-08-14
Hardcover (408 pages)

Florida Soul: From Ray Charles to KC and the Sunshine Band
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When recalling the roots of soul music, most people are likely to name Memphis, Detroit, New Orleans, Muscle Shoals, or Macon. But Florida also has a rich soul music history--an important cultural legacy that has often gone unrecognized. Florida Soul celebrates great artists of the Sunshine State who produced some of the most electric, emotive soul music America has ever heard.



This book tells the story of Ray Charles's musical upbringing in Florida, where he wrote his first songs and made his first recordings. It highlights the careers of Pensacola singers James and Bobby Purify and their producer, Papa Don Schroeder. Florida Soul reveals how Hank Ballard created his international hit song "The Twist" after seeing the dance in Tampa and profiles Gainesville singer Linda Lyndell ("What a Man"). Miami's Overtown and Liberty City neighborhoods produced Sam Moore of the legendary duo Sam and Dave, Willie Clarke and Johnny Pearsall of Deep City Records, and singer Helene Smith. Miami was also the longtime headquarters of Henry Stone, whose influential company T.K. Productions put out hits by Timmy Thomas, Latimore, Betty Wright, and KC and the Sunshine Band. Stone's artists and distribution deals influenced charts and radio airplay across the world.



Born in the era of segregation with origins in gospel, rhythm and blues, and jazz and reaching maturity during the civil rights movement, soul music is still enjoyed today, still very much a part of our collective culture. John Capouya draws on extensive interviews with surviving musicians to re-create the excitement and honor the achievements of soul's golden age, establishing Florida as one of the great soul music capitals of the United States.



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