Florida is a state in the southeastern corner of the United States. It is a peninsula, which means that water surrounds the state on three of four possible sides. To the west is the Gulf of Mexico, to the south is the Florida Straits, and to the east is the Atlantic Ocean.
Florida's is Tallahassee, and Jacksonville is the state's largest city. There are other big cities in Florida, like Tampa, Orlando and Miami. Orlando is home to many amusement and theme parks, like the four parks of the Walt Disney World Resort. Millions of tourists visit Orlando each year.
Florida was admitted as the twenty-seventh State in the Union in 1845, with a population of some 60,000, which number has grown until there are now 1,253,600 people who are permanent residents.
Florida has a coast line of 1,1
00 miles with a shore line, including islands and bays, of approximately 3,000 miles. More than 30,000 lakes of varying size glisten in the bright sunshine; and the combined length of navigable rivers is more than 2,500 miles.
Florida offers exceptional recreational advantages every day in the year. There are more than one hundred golf courses in the State, where links are green and inviting all the time. Motoring is a favorable pastime on the more than 10,000 miles of highways which wind through orange groves, pine forests, along rivers, lakes and ocean. Surf bathing may be enjoyed every day in the year, as well as horseback riding, tennis, polo, aviation and other sports which are outdoor features of this great land.
Over the following century, both the Spanish and French established settlements in Florida, with varying degrees of success. In 1559, Spanish Pensacola was established by Don Tristiín de Luna y Arellano as the first European settlement in the continental United States, but it had become abandoned by 1561 and would not be reinhabited until the 1690s. French Huguenots founded Fort Caroline in modern-day Jacksonville in 1564, but the fort was conquered by forces from the new Spanish colony of St. Augustine the following year. After Huguenot leader Jean Ribault had learned of the new Spanish threat, he launched an expedition to sack the Spanish settlement; en route, however, severe storms at sea waylaid the expedition, which consisted of most of the colony's men, allowing St. Augustine founder Pedro Menendez de Aviles time to march his men over land and conquer Fort Caroline. Most of the Huguenots were slaughtered, and Menendez de Aviles marched south and captured the survivors of the wrecked French fleet, ordering all but a few Catholics executed beside a river subsequently called Matanzas (Spanish for 'killings'). The Spanish never had a firm hold on Florida, and maintained tenuous control over the region by converting the local tribes, briefly with Jesuits and later with Franciscan friars. The local leaders (caciques) demonstrated their loyalty to the Spanish by converting to Roman Catholicism and welcoming the Franciscan priests into their villages.