Florida's History is much younger than many of its southern and northern counterparts. With the exception of the western states, the state of Florida was considered uninhabitable due to the swamps and natural disasters for quite some time.
Although most of the state has later beginnings than most of the United States that were once colonies on the eastern coast of America, Florida is home to the oldest settlement in the United States, St. Augustine.
Florida State Facts for Kids
Florida was admitted to the United States on March 3, 1845, and was the 27th state. 16 years later, it would join the Confederate States of America.
State Capital: Tallahassee
Largest City: Miami (Jacksonville is the largest in square miles)
Size: Florida is the 22nd biggest state at 65,758 square miles.
Population: 21.3 Million (this number continues to rise rapidly)
Name for Residents: Floridians
State Nickname: The Sunshine State
State Motto: "In God We Trust"
State Song: "Swanee River"
State Bird: Northern Mockingbird
Florida Timeline for Kids
1502: Florida is recognized by Portuguese explorers and mapped on the Portuguese Cantino map.
1513: The famous explorer, Ponce de Leon, searches the New World for the Fountain of Youth. During his expeditions, he explored Florida and was recognized as the first European to explore Florida.
1515 - 1519: Spanish Conquistadors visit the Pinellas barrier islands while trading with Tocobaga.
1528:Panfilo de Narvaez explores the Pinellas Peninsula.
1538: The Spanish brought the first horse to Florida. It would eventually dominate the entire United States.
1539: Hernando de Soto explores present-day Tampa Bay. Statues are erected in his honor. He would gain most of his notoriety for his discoveries further west.
1549: A fleet led by Tristán de Luna y Arellano anchors in Pensacola Bay and sets up the encampment of Puerto de Santa Maria. Pensacola would become a large city in the state of Florida.
1560: Menéndez commanded the galleons of the great Armada de la Carrera Spanish Treasure Fleet.
1564: The French establish Fort Caroline of Jacksonville.
1565: St. Augustine becomes the first permanent settlement in the eventual United States of America. It was established by Pedro Menedez de Aviles.
September 20, 1565: The Spanish attacked Fort Caroline and defeated the French.
1571: Pedro Menendez wrecks his ship at Cape Canaveral and is met by the hostile Ais Indian Nation.
1586: Sir Francis Drake attacks St. Augustine and sacks the fort. It would be a crippling defeat to the Spanish colonization efforts in the New World.
1596: Gonzalo Mendez de Canco was appointed Governor and Captian General of Florida.
1601: King Philip III of Spain orders a map of Florida to be drawn. It includes a fort that he wants to be built in Miami.
1603: The Spanish appointed Pedro Ibarra as Governor of Florida.
1605: A diplomatic trip of Alvora Mexia begins a "Period of Friendship" between the Spanish and Native Tribes of Florida.
1700: Colonists in the Carolinas ally themselves with the Natives and attack a common enemy, the Ais people.
1702-1713: During Queen Anne's War, Great Britain destroyed many Spanish settlements in the Caribbean, and it reached Tampa Bay.
1715: The 1715 hurricane sinks an important Spanish treasure fleet.
1743: Biscayne Bay is established but short-lived.
1739 - 1749: English mapping expeditions visit Pinellas Peninsula during the War of Jenkins' Ear.
1757: The Spanish expedition renames Tampa Bay after the Spanish King. The name would eventually be changed back to Tampa Bay.
1763: Spain cedes Florida to England at the end of the French and Indian War. It would be split into East and West Florida.
1768: Dr. Andrew Turnbull establishes a new colony in Florida called New Smyrna.
March 10, 1783: The final naval battle of the Revolutionary War is fought around Cape Canaveral with Captain Jon Harry.
October 3, 1783: The Treaty of Paris is signed and ends the American Revolutionary War.
1795: The United States and Spain recognized the 31st parallel as the northern boundary of Florida.
1800 - 1842
1812: The Republic of East Florida was established during the War of 1812. It was quickly disestablished.
1817-1818: The First Seminole War begins.
1821: Due to the Adams-Onis Treaty, Spain agreed to cede Florida to the United States.
1822: The Florida Territory was created from East Florida and part of West Florida.
1824: St. Augustine receives the first lighthouse built in Florida. The Army also established Flort Brooke, which later became Tampa, Florida. Tallahassee is also chosen as a location for the capital. It would never change.
1832: The U.S. government signs the Treaty of Payne's Landing with some of the Seminole chiefs, promising them lands west of the Mississippi River if they agreed to leave Florida voluntarily
1834: Territorial Legislature establishes Hillsborough County, Florida.
1835–1842: Second Seminole War.
1837: Fort Ann was established on the eastern shore of the Indian River in what is now Brevard County.
1842: Armed Occupation Act provides for land grants in unsettled parts of Florida.
1845: Florida was admitted to the Union as the 27th U.S. state.
1855–1858: Third Seminole War
1856: Florida Historical Society is incorporated.
1861: Florida joined the Confederate States of America at the beginning of the Civil War
1868: Florida fully restored to the United States
1877: Compromise of 1877 completed the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Florida (the aftermath of the Civil War)
1883 December 10: The South Florida Railroad, controlled by Henry B. Plant, becomes the first railroad to arrive in Tampa.
1887 August 15: Eatonville, Florida, incorporated; the first all-black town to be formed after the Emancipation Proclamation.
1888 February 22: President Cleveland's first Florida visit stop.
1888 February 23: President Cleveland visits Winter Park.
1894: The Great Freeze destroys much of Florida's crops (especially citrus).
1896: April 15: The Florida East Coast Railway, controlled by Henry Flagler, becomes the first railroad to arrive in Miami.
1920-1929: Florida land boom
1928: Overseas Highway opens for cars, connecting Key West to mainland Florida
1931: gambling legalized, allowing a Parimutuel betting establishment
1943: September 26: Florida's first oil well is drilled in Collier County by Humble Oil Company.
1947: Everglades National Park dedicated
1962 February 20: Launched from Cape Canaveral, John Glenn orbits the Earth three times with Friendship 7.
1966: The Miami Dolphins football team is founded.
1969 July 20: A rocket launched from Kennedy Space Center landsmen on the moon with the Apollo 11 mission.
1971 October 1: Walt Disney World opens, with the Magic Kingdom as its first park. It would change the landscape of Florida tourism.
1973 December 15: SeaWorld Orlando opens
1974: Big Cypress National Preserve became the first national preserve in the United States National Park System
1976: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers football team joins the NFL.
1980: Emigration crisis caused by the Mariel Boatlift from Cuba
1982 October 1: The Walt Disney Company opens its second park in Florida, Epcot.
1985: The wreck of the Nuestra Señora de Atocha discovered off Key West, listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as being the most valuable shipwreck to be recovered
1988: Miami Heat basketball team active.
May 1: Walt Disney World opens its third park, Disney's Hollywood Studios (originally Disney-MGM Studios).
October 13: The Orlando Magic basketball team becomes an expansion team in the NBA.
1990 June 7: Universal Studios Florida opens in Orlando.
Tampa Bay Lightning joins the NHL as an expansion team.
Dry Tortugas National Park established
Hurricane Andrew devastated areas of South Florida
3 professional sports teams are introduced in Florida. Miami Marlins baseball team, Jacksonville Jaguars football team, and Florida Panthers hockey team.
April 22: Walt Disney World opens its fourth park, Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Tampa Bay Rays join MLB as an expansion team, with their original name being the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
May 28: Universal Studios opens its adjacent park, Islands of Adventure.
November 7–December 12: Disputed Florida ballots in the United States presidential election delay the results of the overall national result
2014: Becomes the United States' third-most populous state.