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A Brief History

Early Human Inhabitants

People first reached Florida at least 12,000 years ago.

European Exploration and Colonization

Written records about life in Florida began with the arrival of the Spanish explorer and adventurer Juan Ponce de León in 1513.

Territorial Period

As a territory of the United States, Florida was particularly attractive to people from the older Southern plantation areas of Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia, who arrived in considerable numbers.

Statehood

Florida became the twenty-seventh state in the United States on March 3, 1845.

Civil War and Reconstruction

During the Civil War, Florida was not ravaged as several other southern states were. Indeed, no decisive battles were fought on Florida soil. While Union forces occupied many coastal towns and forts, the interior of the state remained in Confederate hands.

Florida Development

During the final quarter of the nineteenth century, large-scale commercial agriculture in Florida, especially cattle-raising, grew in importance.

The Great Depression in Florida

Florida’s economic bubble burst in 1926, when money and credit ran out, and banks and investors abruptly stopped trusting the “paper” millionaires.

World War II and Post-War Boom

World War II spurred economic development in Florida. Because of its year-round mild climate, the state became a major training center for soldiers, sailors, and aviators of the United States and its allies.

A Brief Bibliography of Florida History

All titles are available at the State Library of Florida.

Florida History

  • A Brief History
    • Early Human Inhabitants
    • European Exploration and Colonization
    • Territorial Period
    • Statehood
    • Civil War and Reconstruction
    • Florida Development
    • The Great Depression in Florida
    • World War II and Post-War Boom
    • A Brief Bibliography of Florida History
  • Prehistoric Native People
  • 16th Century Settlements
  • Seminole History
  • Florida Governors
  • The Capitol
  • U.S. Navy in Florida

Ron DeSantis, Governor
Laurel M. Lee, Secretary of State

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Copyright © 2020 State of Florida, Florida Department of State.

Florida Department of State
Phone: 850.245.6500

A Brief History Early Human Inhabitants People first reached Florida at least 12,000 years ago. European Exploration and Colonization Written records about life in Florida began with