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Locator Map of Florida

  • (1513) Spanish explorer, Juan Ponce de Leon landed near (present day) St. Augustine, named it La Florida, and claimed it for Spain
  • (1539) Hernando de Soto explored central and northern Florida
  • (1565) Spanish established St. Augustine, first permanent European settlement
  • (1586) British seafarer, Sir Francis Drake, conquered and burned St. Augustine
  • (1763) Britain gained control in exchange for Havana, Cuba
  • (1781) Spanish captured Pensacola
  • (1783) Spanish troops repossessed Florida
  • (1785-1795) Spain relinquished St. Augustine and Pensacola to England
  • (1803) United States claimed West Florida and Pensacola as part of Louisiana Purchase
  • (1813) Andrew Jackson captured Pensacola
  • (1816) Cannon ball exploded in abandoned British fort, killed almost 300 freed and runaway slaves
  • (1818) General Jackson fought Seminole Indians
  • (1821) General Jackson established new U. S. territorial government
  • (1822) Unified government of Florida established; William Duval first Territorial Governor
  • (1830-1840) Population boomed, settlers arrived
  • (1834-1837) First railroads began operation; second Seminole War occurred, Major Francis Dade and two U S Army troops ambushed and massacred
  • (1837) General Zachary Taylor commanded forces against Seminoles at Lake Okeechobee
  • (1842) Second Seminole War ended with many Indians dead, the rest forced out of Florida
  • (1845) Florida became 27th state
  • (1851) Dr. John Gorrie patented ice making process
  • (1855-1858) Third Seminole War occurred
  • (1861-1865) Civil War began; Florida seceded from Union, joined Confederacy
  • (1868) Florida readmitted to Union
  • (1878) Tourism began at Silver Spring, Hullam Jones invented glass-bottom boat
  • (1881) Phosphate discovered in Peace River Valley
  • (1888) Yellow fever epidemic struck, 40% of Jacksonville population fled, over 400 died
  • (1894-1899) Frosts killed many citrus trees
  • (1898) Embarkation camps created at Tampa, Miami and Jacksonville due to Spanish-American War
  • (1914) First U.S. scheduled airline service flight from St. Petersburg to Tampa occurred
  • (1920) Hurricanes hit Florida, destroyed property, killing hundreds
  • (1926) Hurricane devastated Miami, killed 200
  • (1927) Sugar growing and milling began at Clewiston in Everglades
  • (1928) 1500 people drowned by water driven from Lake Okeechobee by hurricane
  • (1933) Guiseppi Zangara attempted to assassinate President-elect Roosevelt in Miami, Mayor Anton Cermak of Chicago killed
  • (1935) Storm struck Florida Keys, killed nearly 400
  • (1947) Everglades National Park dedicated by President Truman
  • (1950) Cape Canaveral became space and rocket center; frozen juice concentrate became major industry
  • (1954) 15.2 miles Sunshine Skyway bridge across lower Tampa Bay opened
  • (1954) U.S. Supreme Court ruled segregation of public schools unconstitutional
  • (1958) National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) began operations at Cape Canaveral; first satellite, Explorer 1, launched
  • (1959) Fidel Castro became Cuba leader; Cuban immigrants began arriving in Miami
  • (1961) Cape Canaveral launched first manned vessel into space
  • (1963) President Lyndon Johnson changed name of Cape Canaveral to Cape Kennedy and the installation to John F. Kennedy Space Center
  • (1964) Hurricane Cleo caused property damages of $115,320,000
  • (1968) Republicans held national convention in Miami Beach; statewide teacher walkout occurred
  • (1969) Apollo 11 launched, carried first men to moon
  • (1971) Apollo 14 landed on moon; Walt Disney World opened
  • (1972) Apollo 16 landed on moon; Tropical Storm Agnes caused heavy damage to Florida eastern seaboard
  • (1973) Miami Dolphins won Super Bowl; 25.5 million people visit Florida; "freedom flights" from Cuba ended
  • (1977) Severe cold devestated citrus and vegetable crops
  • (1980) 16 killed, 300 injured in race riots in Miami; Mariel boatlift brought 140,000 Cubans to Florida
  • (1983) Challenger launched, first American woman, Sally Ride, aboard; 38 overseas highway bridges from Key Largo to Key West opened
  • (1986) Worst space tragedy occurred when Challenger exploded killed all seven astronauts; Spanish galleon "Nuestra Senora de Atocha" found, gold and silver salvaged
  • (1988) Space shuttle flights resumed
  • (1990) Rivers in Panhandle flooded, caused evacuation of 2,000 home; Tampa awarded franchise in National Hockey League
  • (1991) Eastern Airlines goes out of business; Queen Elizabeth II visited Miami and Tampa; Miami awarded major league baseball franchise
  • (1992) Hurricane Andrew devastated Homestead and South Florida; 58 deaths occurred, 25,000 homes destroyed, 10,000 damaged, 80,000 in shelters
  • (1993) Janet Reno became first woman to serve as a U.S. Attorney General
  • (2000) Six-year old Elian Gonzalez taken from relatives' home by federal officers; reunited with his father and returned to Cuba; Florida Supreme Court ordered recount of presidential election ballots, George Bush declared winner
  • (2001) Racer Dale Earnhardt killed in accident at Daytona 500; anthrax bacteria found at offices of Florida magazine publishers
  • (2003) Space Shuttle Columbia destroyed upon reentry, all seven crewmembers killed; Tampa Bay Buccaneers won Super Bowl; plane hijacked in Cuba landed in Key West; boiler on cruise ship exploded, killed four, injured 21; Marlins won World Series; Orlando Seals won Atlantic Coast Hockey League President's Cup
  • (2004) Four hurricanes struck Florida causing extensive damage, killed at least 19
  • (2005) Florida struck twice by hurricanes; after long delay the Discovery space shuttle launched
  • (2005) Miami Heat won NBA finals; FBI arrested seven people in Miami who were planning to blow up Chicago's Sears Tower
  • (2007) Severe thunderstorms and tornado killed 19, caused major damages
  • (2010) Boat used for human smuggling capsized off Florida coast, 10 killed, unknown number missing
  • (2011) Space shuttle Atlantis final launch lifted from Cape Canaveral
  • (2012) Shooting death of unarmed black teenager sparked protests, demands for shooter to be arreste

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