Florida History

By | October 15, 2021

Florida is a state in the United States. It is also called the Sunshine State and is a favorite retirement destination for American retirees . Florida’s sandy beaches stretch for nearly 1,200 km. The reason the state is called ¨ The Sunshine State  ¨ is because here it is almost always hot. The average temperature is 23 degrees. The capital is called Tallahassee, and is located in the northwest corner. Miami is the only metropolitan area in the United States bordering 2 national parks (Biscayne National Park / Everglades National Park)

According to ehangzhou, Florida is the southernmost state on the American mainland. From Key West, it is only 150 km to Cuba, and to the north, Florida borders the southern states of Georgia and Alabama.

Florida is traditionally divided into 2 areas. The northern, hilly and wooded part and the southern, more wet, swampy and flat part, where the landscape rarely rises more than a few meters above sea level.

There are no fewer than 7,800 lakes, one-third of which are found in central Florida. Lake Okeechobee is the second largest freshwater lake in the United States.

For approx. 3000 years ago, the indigenous people of the United States, the Indians, came to the country. The Florida Indians, the Timuca and Apalachee tribes, were a highly developed people compared to their neighbors.

Between 1985 and 1995, homicide rates were one of the highest in the nation as a result of illegal drug trafficking that swept across Florida in the 1970s and 80s. The TV series Miami Vice was inspired by the drug problems that existed.


1513 – Juan Ponce de León lands on Easter morning, near the present St. Augustine, named it La Florida, and declared it Spanish property. Léon was looking for the source of youth. Slavery, war, smallpox, syphilis and other diseases reduced the population of 25,000 to less than a quarter in 50 years, and up through the 18th century the original population disappeared.

1539 – Hernando de Soto explores central and northern Florida.

1565 – St. Augustine was founded by the Spaniards and was the first European settlement.

1566 – The Miami area, inhabited by the Tequestas for the first 1000 years, is conquered by Pedro Menéndez de Avilés.

1586 – The British sailor, Sir Francis Drake, conquers and burns down St. Augustine. He generally goes on to have been the first master to complete a complete circumnavigation, but he was really only the second, as the Spaniard Elcano had already in 1522 accomplished this. Drake was also second in command of the English navy when the Spanish Armada threatened invasion in 1588.

1763 – The British take control of Florida in exchange for Havana, Cuba.

1781 – Spanish troops capture Pensacola.

1783 – Spanish troops retake Florida. After the end of the American Revolutionary War, in which Florida did not participate, the British lost interest and returned the state to the Spaniards in exchange for the Bahamas.

1785-95 – Spain abandons St. Augustine and Pensacola to England.

1803 – USA got West Florida and Pensacola in the Louisiana Purchase.

1813 – Andrew Jackson conquers Pensacola.

1816 – A cannonball explodes in an abandoned British fort, killing nearly 300 escaped slaves.

1817-18 – 1st Seminole War.

1821 – Spain accepts an offer from the United States to strike a $ 5 million debt if they get Florida in return.

1835-42 – 2nd Seminole War. Read more here about the ” Dade massacre “.

1845 – Florida becomes the 27th state of the United States.

1851 – Dr. John Gorrie experimented with making artificial ice cream, and obtained a patent for it.

1855-58 – 3rd Seminole War.

1861-65 – When the Civil War begins, Florida withdraws from the Union and joins the Confederacy. In 1868, Florida returned to the Union.

1878 – Tourism begins in Silver Springs ; Hullam Jones invented a glass-bottomed boat.

1888 – Yellow fever strikes, 40% of Jacksonville’s residents flee, over 400 dead.

1896 – On July 28, Miami officially becomes a city, with a population of just over 300 people. It was named after the nearby Miami River, which itself was named after Mayaimi Indians who previously lived around Lake Okeechobee.

1898 – Ship camps in Tampa, Miami, and Jacksonville are created as a result of the Spanish-American War.

1914 – First flight from St. Petersburg to Tampa took place.

1920 – Hurricanes hit Florida, destroy property, kill hundreds of people. See a list of 1900-49 hurricanes in Florida here.

1926 – A Category 4 hurricane hits Miami, smashing the city and killing 200 people in September.

1928 – 1500 people drown in flooding from the waters of Lake Okeechobee during a hurricane.

1933 – On February 15, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered a spontaneous speech from the back seat of an open car in the Bayfront Park area of Miami, where Giuseppe Zangara lived, and had joined the crowd armed with a 32-caliber pistol. After the first shot, a woman and others grabbed his arm, and he fired four more shots wildly around him. He hit past the newly elected president, but five others were hit, including Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak, who was standing on the step board of the car next to Roosevelt. On his way to the hospital, Cermak reportedly told Roosevelt: “I’m glad it was me and not you, Mr. President ”, words that are inscribed today on a memorial stone in Bayfront Park. On March 20, 1933, after only 10 days on the death row, Zangara was executed in the ” Old Sparky “, the electric chair of the Florida State Prison in Raiford. Zangara was furious when he heard that there would be no film cameras present to film his last moments.

1935 – Florida is hit by a violent storm that kills about 400 people.

1947 – Everglades National Park inaugurated by President Truman on December 6. Watch video and hear the speech with pictures here.

1950 – Cape Canaveral becomes space and rocket center.

1954 – The first 25 km long Sunshine Skyway bridge in lower Tampa opens on September 6.

1958 – National Aeronautics and Space Administration ( NASA ) begins work at Cape Canaveral ; the first satellite, Explorer 1, was launched into the air.

1959 – Fidel Castro became Cuba’s leader; Cuban immigrants began making pilgrimages to Miami. Read more here about immigration.

1961 – Cape Canaveral launches its first manned rocket ( Freedom 7 ) into space on 5 May. It was test pilot Alan Sheppard from the Mercury program who got the honor of being the first American in space for 15 minutes.

On May 25, John F. Kennedy gives his famous speech in which he declared that the United States should land a man on the Moon and lead him safely back to Earth during the 1960s. Kennedy: ” I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth ” Se talen her.

1962 – Friendship 7 with John Glenn on February 20, became the first vessel in orbit around the Earth. The trip lasted 5 hours and came 3 times around the Earth; Scott Carpenter repeated the 5-hour orbit around Earth in Aurora 7 on May 24; Virgil Grissom flew in Liberty Bell 7 on July 21, and was in space for 15 minutes; Walter Schirra stayed in space for 9 hours and flew 6 times around the Earth in Sigma 7 ; The last trip in the Mercury program was with Gordon Cooper, who on May 15 took the trip around the Earth 22 times in 34 hours in Faith 7. A film was shot in 1983 based on Tom Wolfe’s 1979 novel ” The Right Stuff “, which is about the beginning of the American space program. It won 4 Oscars and was nominated for 4 others, among others. Oscar for Best Picture, Oscar for Best Supporting Actor (Sam Shepard) and Oscar for Best Set Design. In Danish, the film was entitled ” Men of the right casting “.

On September 12, Kennedy gave another famous speech in which he proclaimed that the United States would set foot on the Moon at the end of the decade. See it here.

1963 – President Truman renamed Cape Canaveral to Cape Kennedy for the widow Jackie Kennedy’s desire. The installation came to be called the John F. Kennedy Space Center. After local protests, after 10 years, they went back to the 400-year-old original name.

1964 – Hurricane Cleo destroys $ 115,320,000

1967 – The start of the Apollo program with Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chafee, on January 27, resulted in a catastrophic fire on the launch pad, and the three astronauts perished. NASA concluded that the fire started with an electrical short circuit and was fueled by an atmosphere of 100% oxygen in the command module. The three astronauts could not get the hatch on the command section up as the pressure from inside was too high.

1968 – Apollo 7 is the first manned mission in the Apollo program. The crew of the three men, Walter Schirra, Donn Eisele and Walter Cunningham, were sent up on October 11 and came down eleven days later. All crew members were originally ‘backup’ crews on the crashed Apollo 1 mission.

From 21-27. December, Apollo 8 became the second manned mission in the Apollo program, with Captain Frank Borman, Command Module pilot James Lovell, and Moon Landing Module Pilot William Anders becoming the first humans to orbit the Moon. It was also the first manned launch of the Saturn V rocket.

1969 – The Apollo 11 rocket, the first lunar landing mission, is launched, bringing with it Neil Armstrong, who became the first to enter the Moon on July 20, followed by Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins remained in orbit around the Moon. When Armstrong stepped down on the lunar surface, he uttered the familiar words, ” It is only a small step for man, but a giant leap for humanity.”

On November 19, Apollo 12 became the first spacecraft on the Moon to land exactly where it was planned in the Sea of Storms in the immediate vicinity of Surveyor 3, which had landed on the Moon in April 1967. The astronauts consisted of Captain Charles Conrad, command module pilot Richard Gordon and pilot on the lunar landing craft Alan Bean, stayed on the Moon for 31½ hours where they collected samples and disassembled some parts from Surveyor 3 so they could be examined. They brought a color TV camera (instead of the black and white that had been on Apollo 11). Men and Bean should set it up on the Moon he came to turn the lens towards the Sun so the camera was destroyed. Therefore, virtually no television images came back from the Moon during this mission.

197 0 – Apollo 13 was the seventh manned mission in the Apollo program launched on April 11 with Chief Pilot James Lovell, Command Module Pilot John Swigert and pilot on the lunar landing craft Fred Haise. It should have been the third lunar landing that should have taken place in the Fra Mauro Highlands. But instead, the mission became famous for the explosion that occurred in the service module and the subsequent difficult but successful rescue mission back to Earth on April 18 after 142 hours 54 minutes 41 seconds in space. The accident was told in the award-winning film ” Apollo 13 ” directed by Ron Howard and awarded in 1995, after James Lovell’s book ” Lost Moon “. Watch a documentary here.

1971 – Apollo 14, January 31, was the eighth manned mission of the Apollo program and the third lunar landing. The goal was to explore the edge of a Cone crater. The landing was originally supposed to have been made by Apollo 13. The crew consisted of chief pilot Alan Shepard, command module pilot Stuart Roosa and pilot of the lunar landing craft Edgar Mitchell. Alan Shepard became the only Mercury astronaut to land on the Moon. The crew certainly returned to Earth again on February 5th.

On July 26, Apollo 15 became the ninth manned mission in the Apollo program and the fourth lunar landing. It was the first J-Class mission, and for the first time, a lunar car was brought along. One of the highlights of this mission was the discovery of the so-called Genesis Rock, which at the age of 4 billion years was the oldest moonstone found. The crew was chief pilot David Scott, command module pilot Alfred Worden and pilot on the lunar landing craft James Irwin, who all had a somewhat hard landing on their return on 7 August. NASA called it the most successful manned mission ever.

Walt Disney World opened on October 1 in Orlando. It is the world’s largest amusement complex, consisting of four theme parks, two water parks, 23 hotels and a wide range of restaurants, shops and entertainment venues. In total, the parks cover an area of ​​120 km² – an area the size of Samsø.

1972 – Den 16.-21. April, Apollo 16 was the tenth manned mission in the Apollo program and the fifth lunar landing. It was the first landing in the Moon mountain areas. Crew chief pilot John Young, command module pilot Ken Mattingly and pilot on the lunar landing craft Charles Duke. On his way back to Earth, Ken Mattingly completed a spacewalk of 1 hour 23 minutes and 42 seconds to retrieve movies from the service module.

The 8-19. June, Florida and Georgia were attacked by up to 30 tornadoes, becoming the most dangerous outbreak in Florida with 140 deaths, 15 homes smashed, and 119 injured. 217 trailers were destroyed and a further 196 were damaged.

The preliminary last manned lunar landing with Apollo 17, took place from 7-19. December with astronauts chief pilot Gene Cernan, command module pilot Ron Evans and lunar landing craft pilot Harrison “Jack” Schmitt (the first scientist in space). One of the exciting moments occurred on the second moonwalk, where one encountered orange moon gravel. On Earth, the orange color usually emerges from rust and is thus a sign of water. It turned out, however, that the orange color in the moon gravel was due to small colored, volcanic glass beads. On his way back to Earth, Ron Evans completed a spacewalk of 1 hour 5 minutes and 44 seconds to retrieve movies from the service module.

1980 – Racial unrest and riots break out on May 17 in Miami following the conviction of a number of police officers who had killed Arthur McDuffie in 1979. About 5,000 protested at the Metro Dade Justice Building, and by 6 p.m., the protest had developed into riots; three people were killed and at least 23 injured and several of them critically.

On October 31, the Marial boatlift in Cuba had brought a total of 140,000 Cubans into massive exile.

1981 – On April 12, the first of America ‘s five space shuttles, Columbia, is launched on the 20th anniversary of Gargarin’s spaceflight.

1983 – The space shuttle Challengers ( STS-6 ) first mission takes place on 4-9. April until it on its 10th mission exploded on January 28, 1986. On the first mission, the first of the communications satellites Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS-1) put in orbit the first spacewalk in the Space Shuttle program was performed.

From 18-24. June, the STS-7 Challenger was launched, and the first U.S. space shuttle mission with a female astronaut.

August 30-5. September was the STS-8 Challenger’s third mission, and a severe storm occurred while the space shuttle was ready on the ramp. See picture here.

1984 – STS-41-B was Challenger’s fourth space shuttle mission from 3-11. February.

From the 6-13. April was the STS-41-C Challenger’s fifth space shuttle mission.

From 5-13. October was the STS-41-G Challenger’s sixth space shuttle mission.

1985 – STS-51-B was Challenger’s 7th space shuttle flight on April 29-6. May. The mission carried the space laboratory Spacelab -3 and performed 14 experiments. Two monkeys and 24 rodents were on board and were observed for their reactions in weightlessness.

In July, one of the most famous Spanish ships that sank in the sea in 1622, the Nuestra Senora de Atocha, was found by treasure hunter Mel Fisher. The ship contained silver, gold and emeralds.

From July 29-6. August was the STS-51-F Challenger’s 8th space shuttle flight. The mission brought the space laboratory Spacelab -2 with experiments. Five minutes after launch, one of the space shuttle’s three main engines failed, resulting in a so-called Abortion two orbit, and the space shuttle had to go in a lower orbit than planned.

From the 3-7. October, STS-51-J was Atlantis’ first space shuttle mission.

From October 30-6. November was STS-61-A Challenger’s 9th space shuttle flight. It is the only time that eight people have flown with the space shuttle; from the start to the landing.

1986 – STS-51-L ( Challenger accident ) was Challenger’s tenth and final space shuttle mission on January 28. The fuel tank exploded during the launch, tore the shuttle into several parts and the crew perished. See the accident here.

1988 – STS-26 is Discovery’s seventh space shuttle mission from September 29-3. October. The mission was called ” Return to flight “, it was the first flight, after the Challenger accident in 1986. Challenger was 2 years before had crashed during the launch.

1990 – A torrential downpour floods the Florida Panhandle, forcing 2,000 homes to be evacuated.

1992 – Hurricane Andrew smashes Homestead and South Florida ; 58 lost their lives and 25,000 homes destroyed, 10,000 damaged, and 80,000 people in shelters.

1993 – Janet Reno becomes the first woman to be named U.S. Attorney General. Her father, Henry Reno, was an immigrant from Denmark, and was originally named Rasmussen. Janet Reno revealed in 1995 that she suffers from Parkinson’s.

2000 – Six-year-old Elian Gonzalez is taken from his relatives’ home by federal police; reunited with his father and returned to Cuba. Read more here.

2001 – Race driver Dale Earnhardt dies on February 18 in the final lap of the Daytona 500 race held in Daytona Beach.

2003 – At the end of NASA’s space shuttle flight STS-107, which was Columbia’s 28th flight into space, it disintegrated during its re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere on February 1 over Texas , killing the entire crew of seven astronauts.

2004 – Florida is hit by four hurricanes that wreak havoc, 19 were killed.

2005 – Florida is hit twice by hurricanes; The FBI arrested seven people in Miami who were planning to blow up Chicago’s Sears Tower.

2007 – An ugly thunderstorm and a tornado kill 19, causing extensive damage.

2011 – The space shuttle STS-135 Atlantis had its 33rd and final mission in the last space shuttle program, from 8-21. July. The flight was originally planned as a rescue mission for STS-134. However, as Congress allocated funds for the STS-135, NASA seized the opportunity for an additional mission.

Florida History