Ponce de Leon discovered Florida in 1513. Juan Ponce de Leon had been on Columbus’s second voyage to the New World. Later he was commissioned by King Ferdinand to find Bimini, a legendary island that held the fountain of youth. At first Ponce de Leon thought Florida was an island. Because the area grew such lush vegetation, Ponce de Leon named it Florida, meaning full of flowers. He was killed by natives in 1521 when he tried to return to Florida to establish a colony. Children can learn more at: Ponce de Leon.
Walter Poenisch completed his swim from Cuba to Florida, a distance of 128.8 miles, in 1978. He had started several days earlier. The first man to successfully swim that distance, he was observing his 65th birthday!
Florida was ceded to the United States by Spain in 1821. The Adams-Onis Treaty (also called the Transcontinental Treaty) had been signed in 1819 but took effect July 17, 1821. The United States agreed to give Spain $5 million and to renounce any claims on Texas in exchange for West Florida and East Florida.
Hurricane sank ten Spanish treasure galleons off the coast of Florida in 1715. The ships, laden with silver, were returning to Spain. About 700 sailors died, but a few survived by finding lifeboats. Experts state that every once in a while silver coins from the fleet still find their way to shore.
Everglades National Park was founded in 1947. The park contains over 1,500,000 acres of land. It is the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles coexist. The park provides an amazing array of photos, audio programs, and videos. Children could visit the park’s website at: http://www.nps.gov/ever. They could use a Venn diagram to show the differences between alligators (left) and crocodiles (right).
Franklin Roosevelt in 1943 became the first President to fly in an airplane. He flew from Miami, Florida, to Morocco to meet with Winston Churchill. He left Miami on January 11 and flew to the Caribbean, then along the coast of South America, and then across the Atlantic Ocean. The return trip took several days because he spent time with military troops.
A. G. MacDonald in 1905 drove an automobile for the first time faster than one hundred miles per hour. The speed trial was located in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Confederate States of America came into being in 1861. Representatives from seven states (Texas, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, and Georgia) met in Montgomery, Alabama, to start the formation of the Confederacy.
Florida became a part of the United States in 1819. The Adams-Onis Treaty, also called the Transcontinental Treaty, the Florida Treaty, and the Florida Purchase Treaty, defined the border between New Spain and the United States. The treaty took effect July 17, 1821. Spain gave the land to the United States if the United States assumed five million dollars of claims of American citizens against Spain.
Florida became the twenty-seventh state of the United States in 1845. Juan Ponce de Leon named the state Pasqua Florida, Easter festival of the flowers. The state capital is Tallahassee, and the state’s nickname is the Sunshine State. Most of the state is just above sea level. It is home to the Kennedy Space Center and Lake Okeechobee. Children could visit an Internet site at: Florida. They could also design a brochure regarding tourism in the state.