Online Atlas > Florida > Museums • Photographs
Florida facts and history plus travel and tourism information.
Situated in southeastern United States, along the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean coastlines, Florida is a diverse and interesting state. Discovered by Ponce de Leon in 1513, Florida's first permanent Spanish settlers arrived at St Augustine in 1565. Great Britain gained control of Florida in 1763, at the Peace of Paris, but Spain regained the area in 1783, at the Treaty of Versailles. Spain later ceded Florida to the United States in 1819, when the Florida Purchase Treaty was signed.
Entering the Union on March 3, 1845, Florida became the southernmost state in the USA, and Key West in the Florida Keys became its southernmost city. Other major Florida cities include St Augustine, the "Nation's Oldest City" and Jacksonville, Florida's most populated city, as well as Miami, the "Gateway of the Americas" and the Gulf Coast city of Tampa. Orlando is a major tourist destination due to attractions such as Walt Disney World and NASA's nearby Kennedy Space Center.
Florida's subtropical climate and about 1,200 miles of coastline lure vacationers and retirees from all over the United States. However, the state is also the home of abundant wildlife and plant life, which is largely protected by the Everglades National Park, other national parks, and underwater preserves.
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Florida History and Geography