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Visit Florida

The State of Florida :

With it 660 miles of beautiful beaches, more than 8,000 lakes (including Lake Okeechobee, which measures 700 square miles), more than 33 springs and 4,500 islands, Florida is an American aquatic paradise.

And since the earliest of times, Florida has meant the dream of a new life in paradise for many: Creek Indians escaping the British; Spaniards and Greeks looking for a better life; Cuban refugees dreaming of political freedoms and tourists escaping cold weather and industrial cities.

The "Sunshine State" has always been a place where almost everyone is from somewhere else.

People first reached Florida at least 12,000 years ago.
The rich variety of environments in prehistoric Florida also supported a large number of plants and animals.

Written records about life in Florida began with the arrival of the Spanish explorer and adventurer Juan Ponce de León in 1513.
Sometime in April, Ponce de León waded ashore on the northeastern coast of Florida, possibly near present-day St. Augustine.
He called the area "La Flórida", in honor of Pascua Florida ("the feast of the flowers"), Spain's Easter time celebration.

Other Europeans may have reached Florida earlier, but no firm evidence of this has been found.

Britain gained control of Florida in 1763 in exchange for Havana, Cuba, which the British had captured from Spain during the Seven Years' War (1756-63).
Spain evacuated Florida after the exchange, leaving the province virtually empty.
The British had ambitious plans for Florida. First, it was split into two parts: East Florida, with its capital at St. Augustine; and West Florida, with its seat at Pensacola.
British surveyors mapped much of the landscape and coastline and tried to develop relations with a group of Indians who were moving into the area from the North. The British called these people of Creek Indian descent "Seminolies", or Seminoles.

The two Floridas remained loyal to Great Britain throughout the War for American Independence, however, Spain regained control of the rest of Florida as part of the peace treaty that ended the American Revolution.
Finally, after several official and unofficial U.S. military expeditions into the territory, Spain formally ceded Florida to the United States in 1821

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.

Among Florida's native population, the name of Osceola has remained familiar after more than a century and a half.
Osceola was a Seminole war leader who refused to leave his homeland in Florida.
Seminoles, noted for their fighting abilities, won the respect of U.S. soldiers for their bravery, fortitude, and ability to adapt to changing circumstances during the Second Seminole War (1835-42).

Today, reservations occupied by Florida's Indian people exist at Immokalee, Hollywood, Brighton (near the city of Okeechobee), and along the Big Cypress Swamp.
In addition to the Seminole Indians, the Miccosukee Tribe also calls Florida home.

Prior to the Civil War, Florida had been well on its way to becoming another of the southern cotton states.

Afterward, however, the lives of many residents changed.

The Ports of Jacksonville and Pensacola again flourished due to the demand for lumber and forest products to rebuild the nation's cities.

Beginning in the 1870s, residents from northern states visited Florida as tourists to enjoy the state's natural beauty and mild climate.
Steamboat tours on Florida's winding rivers were a popular attraction for these visitors.

In 1898, national attention focused on Florida when the Spanish-American War began.

The port city of Tampa served as the primary staging area for U.S. troops bound for the war in Cuba.

Many Floridians supported the Cuban people's desire to be free of Spanish colonial rule.

By the turn of the century, Florida's population and per capita wealth were increasing rapidly; the potential of the "Sunshine State" appeared endless.

By the end of World War I, land developers had descended on this virtual gold mine.

With more Americans owning automobiles, it became commonplace to vacation in Florida.
Many visitors stayed on, and exotic projects sprang up in southern Florida.
Some people moved onto land made from drained swamps.
Others bought canal-crossed tracts through what had been dry land.

The real estate developments quickly attracted buyers, and land in Florida was quickly sold and resold. Profits and prices for many developers reached inflated levels.

Hotel Reservations Florida
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Hotel Reservations Florida
Hotel Reservations Florida

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Hotel Reservations Florida