Florida Becomes 27th State

Florida Becomes 27th State

U.S. #1271 commemorates the 400th anniversary of Spain’s establishment of the first European settlement in the U.S.

On March 3, 1845, Florida joined the Union.

Scientists have dated burial mounds found along Florida’s western coast at more than 10,000 years old. There were about 350,000 Native Americans living in the Florida region when the first European explorers arrived. These Indians belonged to five main groups: the Calusa, the Tequesta, the Ais, the Timucua, and the Apalachee.

Spanish conquistador Ponce de León reached Florida in 1513 while searching for the mythical island of Bimini, said to be the site of the Fountain of Youth. Claiming the region for Spain, he named the area ” La Florida”, possibly in honor of Pascua Florida, Spanish for the Easter season. In 1521, León returned to Florida to start a colony, but died from wounds he received in a battle with Indians. Pánfilo de Narváez led an expedition of 400 men to Florida in a quest to find gold, though Narváez and most of his men were killed at sea. Hernando de Soto of Spain arrived in the Tampa Bay area in 1539. He traveled beyond Florida, becoming the first European to reach the Mississippi River.

U.S. #2024 – Ponce de León thought Florida was an island when he first arrived.

Interestingly, Florida’s first European settlers were not Spanish, but Huguenots (French Protestants). In 1564, the Huguenots established a colony on the St. Johns River, building Fort Caroline near what is now Jacksonville. Spain’s King Philip II sent a force to drive the French from Florida. In 1565, they established the first permanent European settlement at St. Augustine. This group, led by Pedro Menédez de Avilés, massacred the French, ending any further attempts of settlement for a time.

U.S. #927 pictures the Gates of St. Augustine, and the capitol at Tallahassee.

For the next 200 years, the Spanish attempted to teach the American Indians their way of life. France created colonies to the west of Florida, and Great Britain established colonies to the north. War erupted between the French and British colonists during the mid-1700s, and Spain began supporting the French. Great Britain conquered Cuba in 1762, and then traded it to Spain for control of Florida. However, British control of Florida ended during the American Revolutionary War, when Spanish forces invaded in 1781. By 1783, Spain had regained all of Florida.

U.S. #1659 – The Florida flag pictures the state seal on a red cross. Included in the seal are a Seminole woman, hibiscus flowers, Sabal palm trees, and steamboat.

By the 1800s, Florida was the only part of southeastern North America that wasn’t part of the U.S. Many Indians and runaway slaves fled from the U.S. to Florida. In 1812, settlers in Florida declared their independence from Spain, but were defeated militarily.

U.S. #2950 was issued on the 150th anniversary of Florida’s admission to the Union.

During the War of 1812, fought between the U.S. and Great Britain, Spain allowed Britain to use Pensacola as a naval base. American troops, led by General Andrew Jackson, seized Pensacola in 1814. Jackson entered Florida again during the First Seminole War (1817-18), and captured Fort St. Marks. Jackson also defeated the Seminole Indians. With the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819, Spain finally turned Florida over to the United States.

U.S. #3569 pictures St. Petersburg as well as the space shuttle Discovery taking off from Cape Canaveral.

Florida officially became a part of the U.S. in 1821. Jackson served as governor until 1822, when Congress organized the Territory of Florida, with William P. Duval as its first governor. Settlers from the North poured into the state. Soon, conflicts arose between these settlers and the Seminole Indians, who controlled the state’s prime farmland. The U.S. government moved many Seminole to the Indian Territory in the Oklahoma region – but some Indians refused to leave their homeland. During the Second Seminole War (1835-42), most of these Indians were killed. The Third Seminole War (1855-58) resulted in the forced relocation of most of the surviving Indians. However, a few hundred of the Seminole retreated into the swamps.

By 1839, Florida had created a constitution and was ready for statehood. However, the conflicts over slavery (Florida was a slave state) delayed its admission until March 3, 1845.

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12 responses to "Florida Becomes 27th State"

12 thoughts on “Florida Becomes 27th State”

  1. It shows again how the odds were stacked against the escaped black slaves and Native American indigenous to the area. How can we as a country be proud of the way Florida was settled and made a state. Another shameful perversion of human rights by our early law makers and enforcers.

  2. Seminoles was a European word used to describe the remainder of the original tribes, escaped black slaves and Creek and other tribes who were moved to Florida. There was no Seminole tribe per se, it is only a catch all phrase applied to those who refused to be relocated and chose to stay and fight.
    See Marjorie Stoneman Douglas’ history of the Everglades, “River of Grass”.

  3. Seminole history begins with bands of Creek Indians from Georgia and Alabama who migrated to Florida in the 1700s. Conflicts with Europeans and other tribes caused them to seek new lands to live in peace
    Groups of Lower Creeks moved to Florida to get away from the dominance of Upper Creeks. Some Creeks were searching for rich, new fields to plant corn, beans and other crops. For a while, Spain even encouraged these migrations to help provide a buffer between Florida and the British colonies.

    The 1770s is when Florida Indians collectively became known as Seminole, a name meaning “wild people” or “runaway.”

    In addition to Creeks, Seminoles included Yuchis, Yamasses and a few aboriginal remnants. The population also increased with runaway slaves who found refuge among the Indians.

  4. Re:Mike above: We still have “nothing to be proud of.” Look at the killings that happen on a weekly, if not daily basis in the “Good old USA.” I do believe we should have freedom to possess guns but the freedom to USE them is so-o-o out of control. Then there is the ISIS (Muslim) problem…get where I’m going with this? We in the USA are still very backwards in our treatment of those we disagree with!

  5. Thank You: Ed Dandrea, William Graff, Mike, and Bill. It reminds me of when I was in High School studying American History. The text books and the instructor never mention the treatment of the Indigenous People, by the American People and The Government. All I remember, of which I have mentioned before; is Andrew Jackson’s victory over the “Seminoles” Some of you know that Andrew Jackson was an absolute racist. He wanted slavery to encompass the entire known United States, not just the Southern States; as well as enslaving ALL Native American Peoples that came under American military force. I should also mention that these people were extremely brave and proud, in how they dealt were the US Military, and other forces, ie: French, Spanish, and British; who were equally racist and bloodthirsty.

  6. Thank You RonE, for mentioning: ‘Wikipedia’. It is my “go to” source when I’m on the computer at home, or work


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