Newcomers to Florida, from both other countries and other parts of the United States, have tended to settle in clusters, while maintaining their ethnic identities and their ties to their birthplaces. As a result, Florida is often viewed as an artificial entity, made up of regional groups that differ markedly from one another both culturally and politically.
When the first Europeans arrived in what would become the state of Florida during the sixteenth century, they found the Panzacola, Chatot, and Apalachicola Native American tribes in the western panhandle, the Apalachee and Timucua in the east, and the Calusa and Metecumbe in the south. Two centuries later, Creeks moved south into Florida, where they became known as Seminoles. By the twenty-first century, few Native Americans were left in the state. Those who had not succumbed to diseases brought in by the Europeans were either killed in battle or shipped west under the U.S. government’s policy of Indian removal during the nineteenth century.
Spanish explorers discovered and named Florida in 1565. That same year, they founded St. Augustine,
Less prosperous Europeans from Minorca, Greece, and Italy were brought in as
Even before the Civil War (1861-1865), Florida had been promoted as a place where ailing northerners could come to regain their health. By the end of the century, Florida had become fashionable. Refugees from the cold weather of the northern states and Canada spent their winters in Florida, built homes there, and often retired there. During the 1930’s, many Jewish Americans from New York City began settling in Miami and Miami Beach. In 1959,
During the late 1950’s,
At the end of the twentieth century, almost 20 percent of the total population of Florida had been born in foreign countries. Many of the new immigrants came from Brazil, Nicaragua,
Gannon, Michael. Florida: A Short History. Rev. ed. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2003. Mormino, Gary Ross. Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams: A Social History of Modern Florida. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2005. Shell-Weiss, Melanie. Coming to Miami: A Social History. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2009. Waters, Mary C., and Reed Ueda, eds., with Helen B. Marrow. The New Americans: A Guide to Immigration Since 1965. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2007.
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West Indian immigrants