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Florida: From Spain to the United States

Florida was first explored by the Spanish in the early 1500s – but the French weren’t far behind.

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Florida, with its warm climate and sandy beaches, is a popular vacation spot. It’s also a place where people love to retire and live out their golden years. The state became popular centuries ago, and countries fought over it for a long time.

In 1513, the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon went ashore on the northeast coast of Florida. He called the land it la Florida, in honor of Spain’s Easter celebration Pascua Florida, which means “feast of flowers.”

In 1539, Hernando de Soto came looking for gold and silver. His quest lasted for about four years.

In 1562, the French explorer Jean Reibault came to the area. Spain and France began fighting over the land. Spain stayed dominant for a couple of centuries, until Britain decided it want the land, too.

After the Seven Years’ War (1756-63), Britain gained control of Florida – until the Revolutionary War. At this time, many Americans who disliked Britain moved in. Spain still had some control, too.

The American military started exploring the area, and after a few battles, Spain gave Florida to the United States in 1821. General Andrew Jackson, who later became president of the U.S., helped to arrange the deal.

Kelli Ballard

National Correspondent at and Kelli Ballard is an author, editor, and publisher. Her writing interests span many genres including a former crime/government reporter, fiction novelist, and playwright. Originally a Central California girl, Kelli now resides in the Seattle area.

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