Historical Data Concerning Florida

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Historical Data Concerning Florida

Period of Exploration | Period of Colonization
Changing Flags | Territorial Period | As A State
Under the Confederacy | Reestablished in the Union
Territorial Governors | Since Florida was Admitted to Statehood

Historical Map of Florida, 1931
Historical map of Florida, 1931

Period of Exploration

Date Event
1497 Sebastian and John Cabot, under Henry VII, of England, sail and probably map the entire Atlantic coast from Labrador to Mexico. First voyage of Americus Vespucius along the same route. Vasca da Gama reaches India, via Cape of Good Hope.
1500 Voyage of Gasper Cortreal (Portuguese) along the Florida coasts. Lepe, Cabral, Bastidas Las Cosas, West Indies.
1502 Ponce de Leon sails with Ovando for Hispaniola (Hayti). Date of the Alberto Cantino map. First map of Florida.(See exhibit #3)
1504 Ponce de Leon appointed Adelantado of Hiquey, the eastern Province of Hayti.
1509 Ponce de Leon appointed Governor of Porto Rico by Ferdinand, king of Spain.
1513 Ponce de Leon embarks for Bimini March 3rd, in search of The Fountain of Youth, discovers land March 27th, on Easter Sunday (Pascua Florida), christens it Florida, the land of Flowers; landing a little north of St. Augustine April 2nd. Shortly returns to Porto Rico, after discovery and charting of islands and parts of the coast.
1518 Grijalva's first slave raid to Florida and the Bahamas.
1519 Alvarez Pineda cruises up the Florida Gulf Coast and discovers the Mississippi River, naming it Rio de Santo Espiritu. Cortez conquers Mexico.
1521 Ponce de Leon's second voyage to Florida. Wounded by an Indian arrow, is carried to Cuba; dies there and buried in his castle in Porto Rico.
1524 D'Allyon's voyage to Florida coasts.
Probably date of voyage of Diego Miruello from San Domingo to Florida, exploration of the Gulf of Mexico.

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Date Event
1525 D'Allyon's vessels wrecked on their return on Florida coasts.

Narvaez's expedition embarks for Florida, landing near Tampa.


Alvar Nunez Cabeza Vaca, treasurer of Narvaez's expedition,

1531 wanders across the American Continent for seven years and
1532 was the first European to cross it from the Mexican Gulf to the Gulf of California.
1539 DeSoto lands at Tampa and marches to Anhaquea (present Tallahassee) where he spends winter.
1540 DeSoto travels on north to the headwaters of the Savannah River and thence west.
1541 DeSoto discovers Mississippi.
1542 His death and burial in Mississippi.
1543 Remnant of DeSoto's force arrives at Tampico. Loss of 700 men. Death of Bobadilla, DeSoto's wife, of grief.

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Period of Colonization

Date Event
1556 Elaborate expedition planned in Spain to colonize and Christianize Florida. Don Tristan de Luna chosen to command.
1559 De Luna's departure from Mexico to Florida and landing near what is now Pensacola. Hurricane destroys his fleet.
1561 Remnants of De Luna's force return to Mexico. Complete failure of the whole expedition.
1562 Ribault's first voyage to colonize Florida. Discovers the River May (St. Johns), establishing colony of thirty men near Port Royal and returns to France.
1563 This colony, dissatisfied, builds ship and leaves for France; small remnant only arrives home.
1564 June 22nd, Rene Laudoniere arrives on the Florida Coast at the River May (St. Johns), builds Fort Caroline and explores the country generally.
1565 August 29th, marks the arrival for the second time of Jean Ribault, followed on September 4th by Pedro Menendez de Aviles.
September 6th, St. Augustine established with great pomp and ceremony and temporary fortifications built.
September 16th, Ribault's fleet destroyed by tropical storm.

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Date Event
1565 September 18th and 19th, Menendez marches with 500 men to Ft. Caroline, capturing it September 20th with great slaughter.
September 25th, captures first band of shipwrecked Huguenots at Matanzas and destroys them, repeating the operation four days later. Returns to Ft. Caroline and rebuilds it, leaving later for Cuba.
1566 Menendez returns to Spain and receives royal welcome. Small colony, including fourteen women, sent from Spain to St. Augustine.
1567 Dominique de Gourges plans revenge for Huguenot massacre and leaves France for that purpose.
1568 De Gourges arrives at the St. Mary's River and proceeds south to the St. Johns and destroys Ft. San Mateo and garrison, avenging his countrymen, returns to France.
1569 Menendez returns from Spain, rebuilds San Mateo, destroys St. Elena, and then returns to Spain.
1570 Mutinies in the Spanish forts in Florida.
1574 Death of Menendez September 17th, aged 55, at the height of his fame at Santander. Elaborate burial in Aviles, Spain.
1575 Hernando de Miranda appointed governor of Florida to succeed Menendez.
1577 St. Helena, which had been reestablished, again dismantled and inhabitants sent to St. Augustine.
1578 St. Augustine and Florida's importance stressed at the Court of Spain and appropriations made for same.
1584 Marked influx of missionaries to Florida from Spain.
1586 Drake destroys St. Augustine and loots its treasury.
1587 St. Augustine rebuilt and much improved, with funds from Spain.
1588 The destruction of Spanish Armada on the English coasts. Spain's naval power completely crippled. Spanish colonies suffer accordingly.
1595 Hernando de Mestas plans to build the Forts at St. Augustine of stone, voyages to Spain for that object and obtains royal authority to do so.
1612 Eleven convents reported flourishing and active in Florida.
1613 First accounts of experimental tobacco growing in Florida.
1615 Probable date of building Mission near St. Marys. Walls still standing.
1630 St. Robert Dudley Duke of Northumberland surveys and charts the coasts of Florida the second time.
1637 Expedition planned by Spain to conquer the Indian tries of West Florida successful.
1638 Building of stone fort and other improvements commenced with forced labor of Indian prisoners.
1639 Large quarries opened on Anastasia Island to supply rock for fortification and Seawall.
1642 Sir Robert Dudley surveys and charts the Florida coast from Cape Canaveral northward.
1645 Probable date of building fort at Matanzas.
1647 Population of St. Augustine reported as two thousand.
1649 Great activity in mission work and success reported in Christianizing Indians.
1665 Centenary of the establishment of St. Augustine by Menendez. The English freebooter Davis destroys the city.
1675 Expedition from Florida to destroy the British settlement at St. Helena.
1686 British succeed in conquering all Spanish territory to the north of St. Augustine and driving Spaniards out.
1696 D'Ariola founds Pensacola.
Jonathan Dickenson's shipwreck on the Florida coast, which later being published excited great interest.
1697 Perdido River in West Florida accepted as a boundary between France and Spain.
1698 War being declared between France and Spain, reacts unfavorably on colonies in West Florida, formerly helpful to each other.
1704 Fort San Luis, two miles west of Tallahassee, destroyed; the last inland fortification maintained by Spain.
1715 Wreck of Spanish treasure fleet on Carysfoot Reef, Florida.
1716 English ships loot much of the recovered treasure amounting to $700,000, carrying it to Jamaica.
1718 Don Antonio Malini appointed Governor of Florida. All Indians driven away from Spanish settlements to their great loss.
First account of any settlement at St. Josephs Bay, first by the French and later by the Spaniards.
1719 Flags changed four times this year at Pensacola, from Spain to France and vice versa.
1722 Peace in Europe concluded between France and Spain. Pensacola and West Florida returned to Spain by France.
1725 Col. Palmer's attack on Florida from South Carolina.
1726 Palmer returns home with immense booty in cattle, etc., looted from the Spaniards in Florida.
1739 England declares war on Spain. Oglethorpe instructed to harass Spanish possessions in Florida.
1740 Oglethorpe proceeds to Picolata, Florida, and besieges St. Augustine.
1741 Indigo culture first mentioned in Florida.
1742 Spanish expedition from Havana and Florida attack Oglethorpe in Georgia. Defeated at the battle of Bloody Marsh Island near St. Simons.
1743 Oglethorpe's second expedition to Florida.
1750 Great suffering from yellow fever epidemic in St. Augustine.
1755 Fernando de Herreda appointed Governor of Florida, great building activity.
1756 Castle of San Marco in St. Augustine completed in this year after 118 years' work on same.
1761 War again breaks out between Spain and England.
1762 Havana and Manilla captured by England's navy with immense booty totaling $28,000,000.
1763 Havana restored to Spain in exchange for Florida. Peace.
1764 Great English immigration to Florida, mills and plantations
1765 started, great industry and activity.
1767 Dr. Andrew Turnbull receives grant of land and he and Sir William Duncan bring large colonies of Greeks and Minorcans to Florida.
1768 Mutinies and troubles break out on Turnbull's plantations.
1769 The botanists, William and John Bartram, father and son, travel through Florida and compile valuable information for the Colonial government, works still extant.
1774 Governor Patrick Tonyn succeeds Governor Moultrie as English governor of East Florida, bitterly opposes Dr. Turnbull.

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Changing Flags

Date Event
1776 Year of Independence. Florida remains loyal to England.
Declaration of Independence with effigies of John Hancock and John Adams publicly burned in the park at St. Augustine.
1777 Breaking up of the Turnbull, New Smyrna, Colony.
1778 Revolutionary rumblings of France have a marked effect on Florida.
1779 Invasion of West Florida threatened by Spaniards in Louisiana.
1781 Forts of Pensacola under Col. Campbell (British) surrender to Spanish attack.
1783 September 3rd, treaty of Peace signed in Paris, ending the Revolutionary war.
1788 William Augustus Bowles, military adventurer, attacks Spanish interests in Florida.
1789 Bowles assumes control of Muscogee Indians.
1790 Treaty made between the United States and Creek Indians in Florida in which the Indians agree to return runaway slaves.
1791 Bowles captured, sent to Spain and later to the Philippines where he was imprisoned for six years.
1792 Indians and Negroes enlisted by border ruffians to incite troubles with Spanish Florida.
1795 Treaty between the United States and Spain as to Florida's western boundary.
1796 Boundaries finally agreed on by Commissioners of both countries.
1797 Bowles escapes from Spain, proceeds to England, there aided to harass the United States in West Florida.
1798 Second Boundary Commission, after delay of two years, reports their work completed as between Spain and U.S.A.
1800 Spain, by secret treaty, cedes Louisiana to France.
Part of Florida seems to be included.
Monuments later erected, satisfactory to both parties.
1801 Bowles captured the second time, sent to Cuba.
1803 The purchase from France of Louisiana for $15,000,000, giving the United States control of the Mississippi Valley.
Boundaries between this territory and Florida again questioned.
1808 Fernandina declared a free port became a rendezvous for much questionable trade.
1809 Napoleon, having conquered Spain in Europe, claims all her colonies, Florida included. This was stoutly resisted by the United States and later in 1823 became elaborated in the Monroe Doctrine.
1810 Republic of West Florida organized September 10th, at Pensacola, to control disputed territory. Dissolved after an existence of 58 days by orders from Washington, without trouble.
1811 War imminent between United States and England.
Republic of East Florida, so called.
1812 June 18th, war declared on England by the United States.
Organization of Republic of Florida.
1813 All American influences withdrawn from Florida by order of President Madison, with apologies to Spain and pardon to former disturbers of the peace.
1814 Fierce engagement off Cape Canaveral, Florida, between British and American war vessels. British troops occupy Pensacola, speedily driven out by Andrew Jackson.
Articles of Peace signed in Ghent, Belgium, between England and United States, December 24th.
1818 Jackson's second invasion of Florida.
1819 Treaty drawn up in Washington for Florida's transfer to United States.
1820 October 24th, Treaty of Transfer duly approved and signed.
1821 Transfer of West Florida accepted by Andrew Jackson.
Flags changed at Pensacola from Spain to United States of American July 17th.
July 10th, transfer of East Florida at St. Augustine, to Col. Robert Butler.
Ratification exchanged February 22nd.

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Territorial Period

Date Event
1821 July 21st, St. Johns and Escambia created counties, and municipal Government established in St. Augustine and Pensacola.

John James Audubon, noted naturalist, visits and writes of Florida
Civil government established March 3.

1823 Second Legislative Council held in May, in St. Augustine, and decision made that a central point of meeting be chosen for future Legislation.
First treaty made, September 18th, with Florida Indians at Moultrie Creek, signed by 32 leading chiefs.
1824 Dr. Simmons and John Lee Williams select Neomathla's village near Tallahassee for future State Capitol.
1825 Appropriation of $23,000 by the Legislative Council to build road from Pensacola to St. Augustine.
Congress voted $200,000 to Lafayette and 23,000 acres just east of Tallahassee, Florida. Later settled by emigrants from France.
Achile Murat, son of the King of Naples, immigrates to Florida, first living in St. Augustine, and later in Tallahassee married a Virginia lady visiting Tallahassee, where he died in 1847.
1826 Congress grants to Florida the elective franchise for their representatives in Congress and State Legislature.
1828 Judicial District formed for the whole of South Florida Court to sit at Key West.
First bank organized in Florida, at Tallahassee.
1829 Privilege extended to elect all officers for Florida except the Governor, he being appointed by the President.
1830 Founding of St. Joseph.
Commencement of era of wildcat banking and boomtowns in Florida.
1831 Legislative Council encourages plans for roads and canals to aid internal transportation.
Bank of St. Augustine chartered.
1832 Treaty with the Indians at Payne's Landing on the Ocklawaha.
Jacksonville's first Charter of Incorporation.
1835 Beginning of Indian War. Dade massacre December 25th. Osceola becomes a prominent leader in Indian affairs.
1837 Osceola's capture and imprisonment.
1838 Osceola's death at Ft. Moultrie near Charleston, S.C.
1839 Constitutional Convention held at St. Joseph adjourned, having given Florida its first Constitution.


Murder of Dr. Henry Perrine at Indian Key and destruction of Lighthouse at Cape Florida by so-called Spanish Indians.
Company of play actors murdered by Indians near Picolata.
1841 Closing scenes of the Indian War. Coacochee captured and deported.
1842 Armed Occupation Act.
1844 Preparation to enter Statehood.

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As A State

Date Event
1845 March 3rd, Florida and Iowa become States by the same Act.
Dr. John Gorrie discovered process of making ice.

War with Mexico, Florida largely drawn on for troops.
Lighthouse built at Cape Canaveral.

1849 Breaking up of the Indian River colony near Ft. Pierce by the murder by Indians of Trader Barker at Barker's Bluff.
1850 Swamp Land Act passed by Congress.
1856 Lands granted to the Florida Railroad Co., and construction begins on first through State railroad.
1858 Close of last war with the Seminoles.

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Under the Confederacy

Date Event
1861 January 10th, Florida secedes, and on February 17th, joins the Confederacy at the Montgomery Convention.
April 12th first shot fired on Ft. Sumter, Charleston, S.C. Civil War commenced.
1862 During February and March all principal towns in Florida in occupation by Federal troops and its whole coast blockaded.
1863 Large numbers of Florida Negroes enlisted in the Northern Army and various expeditions sent against the fortifications along the St. Johns River.
1864 February 20th, at Olustee, Florida, was fought the one great battle on Florida soil; more than 9,000 men engaged. Federals badly defeated.

Lee's surrender at Appomattox to Grant, April 9th
Abraham Lincoln assassinated April 14th.
Final surrender of Confederate troops May 26th by Gen. E. Kirby Smith in Texas.
President Jefferson Davis captured and imprisoned and his cabinet scattered, some finally reaching Cuba via the Indian River and the Keys.
May 20th, Tallahassee, only Confederate State Capital not captured during war, yields peaceable possession to Federal troops.

1866 Reconstruction begins under Federal supervision.

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Reestablished in the Union

Date Event
1868 Civil government reestablished July 4th. Carpetbaggers in full power with all the abuses incident to this period of history in the South. Negroes used as political powers by Northern politicians.
1876 Presidential election claimed by Democrats and Republicans on disputed returns from South Carolina, Florida and Louisiana. Hayes elected.
1877 Federal supervision of Florida affairs ends and reconstruction times closed under President Hayes.
1879 First telephones installed in Jacksonville.
1881 Sale of four million acres of State owned lands to Hamilton Disston and associates.
1882 Establishment of Institute for Deaf Mutes in St. Augustine, and Academy established in DeLand by H.A. Deland.
1885 Constitutional Convention met in Tallahassee.
1887 Building of palatial hotels in St. Augustine commenced by Henry M. Flagler.
1889 Discovery of phosphate.
Special session of the Legislature called by Governor Fleming and State Board of Health organized with splendid effect on contagious and infectious diseases.
1890 H.B. Plant built Tampa Bay Hotel.
1891 Sub-Tropical Exhibition opened in Jacksonville, doing much to advertise Florida's products.
1892 Flagler railroad reaches Titusville and proceeds down the East Coast.
1893 World's Fair opened at Chicago. Florida represented.
1895 Severe frost, in February, destroys practically the entire citrus production of Florida for some years to come.
1896 Florida East Coast Railroad reaches Miami June 26th.
1897 Activity in railroad building on the West Coast of Florida.
1898 Spanish-American war give Florida great impetus.
1899 Fire destroys Miami.
1900 Last Democratic Convention held in Florida for nomination of State officers.
1901 May 3rd, 466 acres in Jacksonville laid waste by disastrous fire, with some loss of life and untold value in records, etc.
1904 Rebuilding of the Mayport jetties improves navigation of the St. Johns River to Jacksonville and large ships enter safely.

First cut to the ocean for Miami Harbor.
Florida East Coast Railroad commences extension to Key West.
Overseas railroad.

1907 Everglades drainage commences under supervision of Governor Broward.
1912 Florida East Coast Railroad runs first train into Key West.
1914 Germany declares war on France, and England on Germany, causing great uncertainty and depression in Florida business
1915 circles, especially in naval stores, timber and phosphate: shipping at a standstill.
1917 United States enters the World War April 6th. Shipyards and camps greatly increase Florida's activities.
1918 November 11th, Armistice declared which closes hostilities.
1922 Orange crop largest ever known to this date, 16,000,000 boxes.
1924 Renewed activities and increase in land values. Great road building program laid out and work commenced, giving Florida unexcelled communication as never before dreamed possible.

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Territorial Governors

Andrew Jackson (Military)
William P. Duval
John H. Eaton
Richard Keith Call
Robt. Raymond Reid
Richard Keith Call
John Branch

Since Florida was Admitted to Statehood

William D. Moseley
Thomas Brown
James E. Broome
Madison Perry
John Milton
Abraham K. Allison
William Marvin (provisional)
David Shelby Walker
Harrison Reed
Ossian B. Hart
Marcellus L. Stearns
Geo. F. Drew
William D. Bloxham
Edward A. Perry
Francis P. Fleming
Henry L. Mitchell
William D. Bloxham
William Sherman Jennings
Napoleon Bonaparte Broward
Albert W. Gilchrist
Park Trammell
Sidney J.Catts
Cary A. Hardee
John W. Martin
Doyle E. Carlton

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