The history of the Sunshine State can be traced back to when the first Native Americans began to inhabit the peninsula as early as 14,001 years ago. Recorded history begins with the arrival of Europeans to Florida, beginning with the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León in 1513. Since that time Florida has had a long history of migration, including French and Spanish settlement during the 16th century, as well as Native American groups. It subsequently was under colonial rule by Spain and Great Britain before becoming a US territory, and later U.S. state in 1845. Twentieth and 21st century migrations have created a diverse population in a more urban economy.
Sticking out into the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean in the southeast corner of the country, Florida is just so identifiable. The peninsular was just such a landmark to the Spanish conquistadors who viewed Florida as the front door to their great American Empire and to the beginning of North America.
Climate is synonymous with Florida. Florida is not only closer to the equator than any other American state other than Hawaii, its location on the southeastern tip of North America means Florida has a humid subtropical climate Florida has many rivers on the Gulf Coast. No state can match Florida's number of major springs. Boasting, fishing, and swimming are words that have long been associated with Florida.
Florida is endowed with an abundance of animal and plant life. Over eighty species of land mammals dwell in Florida, from the black bear to the tiny field mouse. Most people, however, remember Florida as the major domain of the alligator and American crocodile.
Four hundred species of wild birds are Florida natives. The rookeries around the lake regions, coastal marshes, and the Everglades attract millions of migratory birds making these places still paradises for bird watchers.
Fishing is still a vital part of the Florida life style.Record bass, catfish, perch, and trout as well as ocean fish like pompano, snapper, snook, and grouper is well recorded. The big game fish like sailfish and tarpon are famous in Florida.
During the late 19th century, Florida became a popular tourist destination as railroads expanded into the area. Railroad magnate Henry Plant built at Tampa the luxurious Tampa Bay Hotel, which later became the campus for the University of Tampa. Henry Flagler built the Florida East Coast Railway from Jacksonville to Key West.
The 1920s were a prosperous time for much of the nation. Florida's new railroads opened up large areas to development, spurring the Florida land boom of the 1920s. By 1925, the market ran out of buyers to pay the high prices and soon the boom became a bust.
Florida's first theme parks emerged in the 1930s and included Cypress Gardens (1936) near Winter Haven and Marineland (1938) near St. Augustine. In the 1960s Walt Disney chose Central Florida as the site of his planned Walt Disney World Resort The Orlando area features theme parks including Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld, and Wet 'n Wild.
SOUTH BEACH (SOBE)
The AMERICA'S RIVIERA is one of the most popular vacation destination in the world. South Beach is home to a rainbow of luxury hotels and resorts, chic boutique hotels, and moderately priced accommodations.
Ocean Drive has earned a place worldwide for its see and be seen restaurants and cafes, pristine beaches, stunningly attractive women and men seeking to catch a beautiful suntan.
Sophisticated Lincoln Road is a unique pedestrian mall, thriving as a lively cultural destination as well as shopping and dining area, lined up with fine restaurants were some of the finest chefs from around the world present there eccentric cuisine. Sidewalk cafes, bars, galleries and a concert hall for the New World Symphony Orchestra, newly restored Colony Theater, the Art Center South Florida, a collection of small studios and gallery space for emerging artists.
Miami and The Beaches attracts a growing number of visitors year after year, hoteliers from Europe, New York snowbirds, wealthy investors from South & Central American , Gay and Lesbian from around the world, Jews & Cubans make a Mosaic of cultures.