History of Florida

Archaeological research has uncovered the fact that that Florida had been inhabited for thousands of years, and long before any European settlements had been established. The largest known tribes to originally inhabit the region were known as the Ais (who ranged from present day Cape Canaveral to the St. Lucie Inlet, in the present Day counties), the Apalachee (an Indian tribe that lived in Apalachee Province), the Calusa (they were a Native American group that lived on the coast and along the inner waterways of Florida's southwest coast.), the Timucua (they were an American Indian people who lived in Northeast and North Central Florida and southeast Georgia).

"Florida" is the oldest surviving region in the U.S whose name was established by early European settlers. A Spanish conquistador, known as Juan Ponce de León, discovered Florida on April 2, 1513. He decided to call it Pascua Florida, which was a Spanish term meaning the season of "Flowery Easter", which was in harmony with the land's appearance as a "flowered land”. From that date onwards, the area was given the designation of "La Florida."

However, after 1630 and throughout the 1700s, Tegesta (after the name of the Tequesta tribe) was chosen as an alternate name for the Florida peninsula. For the next hundred years, both the Spanish and French established settlements in Florida, although not always with great success. In 1559, the Spanish city of Pensacola (the westernmost city in the Florida Panhandle and the county seat of Escambia County) was duly designated as the very first settlement, by Europeans, in the United States. French Huguenots (who were associated with the Protestant Reformed Church of France) established Fort Caroline in 1564, a region now known as Jacksonville. However, the fort was subsequently conquered with troops from the new Spanish colony of St. Augustine the following year.

The region of Florida established by the Spanish slowly diminished in importance when the English and French both established colonies, the former to the north and the latter to the west. As a means of redress, the Spanish made it attractive for slaves to leave the Carolinas, which were held by the English, and establish themselves in Florida. Their reward was their freedom once they had accepted Roman Catholicism. They set up a community north of St. Augustine which duly became the first black settlement in a region which would ultimately become the United States.

In 1763 by means of the treaty enunciated in the Peace of Paris, England subsequently secured control of Florida. As a result, St. Augustine was established as the capital of Eastern Florida, whilst Pensacola became the capital of Western Florida. In order to develop the two Floridas, the authorities encouraged the immigration of labour from wherever possible, including Minorca and Greece. However, this was doomed to failure.

In the end, however, Spain managed to regain the two Floridas after England was defeat by the forces of the American colonies. This led to the Treaty of Versailles in 1783 in which the division into East and West Florida was subsequently maintained. As an inducement, they offered grants for the purchase of land to anyone who agreed to settle in the colonies. This move turned out to be very successful, and many Americans took up the offer.

Reportedly at the instigation of the Spanish, Seminole Indians who resided in East Florida started to raid settlements in Georgia after attacks by the new settlers on Indian towns. In response to these attacks, the United States Army started a campaign of infiltration into Spanish territory. In particular, between 1817 and 1818, there was a campaign against the Seminole Indians. Subsequently, this became known as the First Seminole War. The result of this war was that the United States controlled East Florida in its entirety. Spanish interests in Florida were finally relinquished in 1819 when, according to the terms of the Adams-Onís Treaty, Spain handed over Florida to the United States and received a payment of $5 million. It was agreed that the United States would renounce any claims they had on Texas.

Attractions – How To Succeed

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