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.
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.
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.
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.