Fun Facts

1. Why are there no fossils of dinosaurs in Florida?

During the age of dinosaurs, the Florida peninsula was underwater and did not exist as a land mass. Therefore, no dinosaur remains were ever deposited in Florida. Visit our Historical Contexts page.

2. Are the Seminole Indians the original Indian people of Florida?

No. The Seminole and Miccosukee people are descendants of Creek Indians who migrated from Georgia and Alabama to Spanish Florida in the early to mid-1700s. The original Indian people of Florida including the Timucua,Calusa, Apalachee, and other Indian groups were either killed by disease or warfare, captured as slaves, or they left Florida with the Spaniards.Visit our Seminole History page for more information.

3. How many of Ernest Hemingway's books had a Florida setting?

Only one of his books had a Florida setting. It was To Have and have Not, which was written in 1937 and set in Key West.

4. What was the most devastating hurricane to hit Florida?

Hurricane Andrew, which devastated Homestead, Florida City, and the surrounding area in 1992, was Florida's most devastating hurricane and the costliest natural disaster in American history at that time.

5. When did the first people arrive in Florida?

Archaeologists have found evidence of human activity in Florida that dates to at least 12,000 years ago. Visit our Paleo-Indian Period page.

6. When did Europeans first come to Florida?

The first record of Europeans in Florida was the Juan Ponce de Leon expedition in 1513. For more, visit a Brief History of Florida.

7. When were oranges first grown in Florida?

The first record of oranges being cultivated in Florida is by the Spaniards in St. Augustine in 1579.

Government

8. Did Florida originally have two capitals?

Yes. During British occupation (1763-83), Florida was divided into two colonies, East Florida with a capital in St. Augustine, and West Florida with a capital in Pensacola. The two capitals were retained during the Second Spanish period (1783-1819) and into the American period from 1819 to 1824.

9. Who was Florida's first governor?

William P. DuVal of Leon County was appointed by President James Monroe to be the first territorial governor of Florida in 1822. The year before,General Andrew Jackson was named by Monroe as Commissioner, with all the powers and authorities heretofore exercised by the Governors of East and West Florida.

10. Who was the first governor of the State of Florida?

William Dunn Moseley was inaugurated as governor on June 25, 1845.

11. How many states were admitted to the U.S. before Florida?

Twenty-six states were admitted into the Union before Florida. Florida was the 27th state of the U.S.

12. What Florida governor served the shortest term in office?

Wayne Mixson was governor for three days, from January 3 to January 6, 1987. He was serving the remainder of the term of Bob Graham, who had resigned as governor to become a United States Senator. Mixson had been lieutenant governor under Graham.

13. When did Florida become a U.S. territory?

In 1819, Florida was ceded to the United States in the Adams-Onis Treaty.The formal change of flags came in 1821, and Florida was formally organized as a U.S. Territory with a legislative council in 1822.

14. When was Tallahassee chosen as the capital of Florida?

In 1824, Tallahassee was proclaimed to be the Territory of Florida's seat of government.

Wars and Battles

15. Were any Revolutionary War battles fought in Florida?

Yes. After Spain declared war on Great Britain in 1779, Spanish forces defeated the British in the Battle of Pensacola in 1781. In addition, there were several unsuccessful expeditions by Colonial militia and regulars that crossed from Georgia into British East Florida. The British forces defeated the Colonials in small battles at Thomas Creek (1777) and Alligator Bridge (1778), in what is now Nassau County, Florida.

16. What side was Florida on during the Civil War?

Florida sided with the Confederacy during the Civil War. However, there was a notable Unionist sentiment in some parts of the state, especially in Jacksonville.

17. When did Florida secede from the Union?

Florida withdrew from the Union on January 10, 1861. The Ordinance of Secession was signed the next day.

18. What was the largest battle fought in Florida during the Civil War?

The Battle of Olustee, which took place near Lake City on February 20, 1864, was the largest military engagement to occur in Florida during the war. The battle resulted in a Confederate victory. Confederate forces,however, failed to capitalize on their victory by not aggressively pursuing the retreating Union army.

19. Was Florida's capital, Tallahassee, captured during the Civil War?

No. In fact, Tallahassee was the only Confederate state capital east of the Mississippi River that was not captured by Union forces. However,the Union Army did occupy Tallahassee on May 10, 1865, following the surrender of the major Confederate armies in the east.

20. From what Florida port did most U.S. troops embark for Cuba during the Spanish-American War?

Tampa, Florida.

21. Did any enemy agents land in Florida during World War II?

On June 17, 1942, four German saboteurs paddled ashore at Ponte Vedra Beach on a rubber raft from a submarine. They were later captured with four other German agents.