Astronomy — The Art of Navigation
Earth, Wind, & Fire
Power of the Sun — Solar System
Venus — The North Star
Lure of the Moon — Mystery
Water is Life — “Hope Springs Eternal”
Neptune / Mermaids / Manatees
Living In The Past b/ Jethro Tull
Florida’s largest and deepest spring has proved to be the archeological window through which scientists have been able to see, and paint a clear picture of, Florida’s often mysterious past.
The River Returns (St. Johns River)
— Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria
The New World
Christopher Columbus — In the name of Portugal’s royal family (Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand II), Christopher Columbus led four expeditionary voyages across the Atlantic Ocean. On the first, en route to India, when he accidentally landed in the Bahamas, Columbus had discovered “The New World,” and opened a wide door to a century of exploration, exploitation, and war. The Italian sailor had taken the first small step for (European) Man, 500 years before (American) Astronaut Neil Armstrong made his giant leap “For All Mankind” (1989).
The Natives were the ones who suffered most, while Spain, France, England, and eventually America, fought among themselves to take control of The New World. The Europeans and Americans had little concern for the “Indians,” seeing them as slaves who resisted colonization, and fought viciously to protect their home. The Europeans reacted aggressively, and violently in their persistent, effort to explore, colonize, and convert (to Christ) all the native (American) people. In addition to Portugaok Columbus’ “Discovery” had been been financed by the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, and the Church demanded a human return on its New World investment.
The interior of North Florida is mix of Pine Forest, dense Hammock, and lush Jungle, filled with flora and fauna, sustained by the cool, clear, bubbling springs, and the fresh flowing rivers into which they run.
1493 — Less than a year later, Columbus recruited another crew, anxious to return to the New World, hoping to find Gold, Silver, and precious stones that had expected to find on the first Voyage. AmericasA young, Spanish sailor, named Ponce de León, was a member of Columbus’ crew on his return voyage to the Americas. He and his family settled on an island in the Caribbean named Hispaniola (Dominican Republic), where he became a military commander, and was appointed deputy governor. In 1506, Ponce de León discovered a nearby island named Borinquen.
Juan Ponce de Leon
Hoping to find a Fountain of Youth
The Timucuans — The Native Floridians were gracious when receiving Ponce de Leon after he made his Florida landing near the mouth of the St. Johns River. The indians were friendly, and helpful, but not without skepticism and fear. Some believe the Timucuan Chief, xxx, might have been humoring de Leon, when asked about the existence of a rejuvinating spring, a fountain of youth, he said “yes,” and pointed the stranger deeper into the forrest. It is possible that the Timucuans said there was such an artesian well, and de Leon would find it, deep in the pine forest,(far) away,(way) west of their village.
Pedro Menéndez de Avilés
“The Conquerors” (Conquistadors)
Mucozo & Ortiz
1565 — Spanish Dominance, French Submission
When King Philip II of Spain learned that the Frenchman
Rene de Laudonniére had established
Fort Caroline in Florida, he was incensed that the French would dare settle on land belonging to the Spanish crown.
Spanish fleets sailed along the Florida coast, riding the Gulf Stream from Key West to St. Augustine, the fastest and most treacherous stretch of a long voyage, expected to deliver its treasure of precious metals and stones, important written logs and artistic documents, and a wealth of exquisitely designed, made of gold jewelry, sculptures, and religious objects, to its rightful, royal owners. The Kings and Queens who ruled the European World.
After a rejuvenating rest in St. Augustine, fleets were prepared for an early morning launch. Where the St. Johns River rushes into the Atlantic, and joins the still-raging Gulf Steam as it makes a dramatic turn to the east … a fleet is catapulted into the open ocean, where a captain can follow the stars pointing the way through a clear, moonlit, tropical night sky.
The Long Way Home
King Philip was even more angry, knowing that Fort Caroline was perfectly positioned for the French to attack Spain’s treasure-laden, sea-weary galleons, as they struggled to make port and sanctuary in St. Augustine, Spain’s first settled colony in The New World.
And worst of all for the devoutly Catholic, ruthless King Philip, was that the French settlers were Huguenots, sacrilegious Protestants.
Despite Philip’s protests, tantrums, and threats of war, Jean Ribault sailed from France (May 1565)with more than 600 soldiers and settlers to resupply Fort Caroline. Shortly after, General Pedro Menéndez de Aviles, charged with removing the French, also sailed, with 800 soldiers and civilians, arriving at the St Johns River in August, shortly after Ribault’s arrival.
Menéndez quickly chased Ribault out to sea, and returned to the beach, just south of a Timucuan Village they had encountered on a previous expedition.
The Spanish made their permanent move in September 8, 1565, establishing the New World’s first European Colony, and naming it St Augustine, because this now sacred land had first been sighted on August 28, a day known as The Feast of The Flowers.
Jean Ribault made one last attempt to drive Spain out of St. Augustine. Well armed and prepared, he confidently launched his attack, September 10, but a hurricane pushed his ships far south, wrecking them on the coast, just north of the great Cape called Canaveral.
At the same time, Menéndez led a force to attack Fort Caroline. Since most of the soldiers were lost with Ribault, Menéndez easily overran the French settlement. Most of the French men were killed in the battle, and some inhabitants, including de Laudonniére and the artist Jacques LeMoyne, escaped to surviving ships, and return to France.
Menéndez spared the women and children and sent them to Havana.
Soon after, late in October, nearby Timucuan Indians told Menéndez that a group of white men were stranded on the beach a few miles south of St. Augustine.
Menéndez, with 70 soldiers, marched south to an inlet, Matanzas, that had blocked the way of two French warships that went aground while trying to navigate the inlet, and make it back to Fort Caroline.
With a captured Frenchman as translator, Menéndez described how Fort Caroline had been captured and urged the French to surrender. Rumors to the contrary, he made no promises to spare their lives. Having lost most of their food and weapons in the shipwreck, the French did surrender.
Francisco Mendoza, the Chaplain accompanying Menéndez, requested the chance to show mercy to the Catholics, but most refused the offer.
One hundred and eleven Frenchmen were killed, and sixteen (four experienced sailors, a number of artisans needed in St. Augustine, and the few who professed their Catholic faith in God) were spared.
Two weeks later, more French survivors, including Jean Ribault, made it to shore at the inlet.
Ribault and his men surrendered, and met a similar fate as those two weeks earlier. This time 134 were killed. From that time on, the inlet was called Matanzas — “slaughters” in Spanish.
Was this a cruel, cold-hearted act by the Spanish?
Was Pedro Menéndez blindly following orders to rid Florida of interlopers?
Was it a religious conflict?
What would the French have done to the Spanish if the hurricane had not wrecked their ships?
Or maybe it was simply a matter of human survival. With food running low, and no supply ship scheduled to arrive before spring, Mendéndez knew that if took all the French survivors back to his village (St. Augustine), chances were that everyone (Spanish and French) would have starved to death by summer.
God Created The Heavens and The Earth
Sistine Chapel — Michelangelo (1508-1512)
& The Earth
Christmas Eve 1968
Dark Side Of The Moon
— Bill Anders
— The Golden Record
Cosmic Message In A Bottle
Lure of the Moon
“From the Earth to the Moon”
STRING OF PEARLS (The Keys)
Stepping Stones To The Moon
Indian River Lagoon
Christmas Eve 1968
God Created The Heavens And The Earth
Religion vs. Science
The Native Floridian
Mucozo was a 16th Century Timucua Indian Chief, an original Native Floridian whose friendship with an abandoned Spanish sailor named Juan Ortiz, is a most dramatic story, at the beginning of recorded life in what the Europeans called the “New World.”
This is why Mucozo’s portrait is carved into an archway leading into the common lawn of Buckman Hall, a historic, red-brick, Collegiate Gothic building on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville, Florida. Buckman Hall was designed by architect William A. Edwards, and opened in 1906. Along with Thomas Hall, Buckman was one of the university’s first two Architectural Structures. First used as a multi-purpose facility, Buckman, since the 1940s has been used exclusively as a student dormitory.
Four hundred years earlier, Timucua Chief Mucozo lived and ruled in the same North Central Florida pine forest where the University of Florida sits today, just north of Silver Springs, the Ocala National Forest, and Payne’s Prarie.
The Art of Navigation
Christopher Columbus “discovers” the New World, proves the world is not flat, thinks he’s landed in India.
1497-1514 Europeans see Florida for the first time. A Spanish map of 1502 depicts a peninsula like Florida. Peter Martyr writes in 1514 of a land near the Bahamas with water of eternal youth.
1513 — Juan Ponce de Leon had first come to The New World with Christopher Columbus, the man who had discovered this New World and was beginning to explore the ways in which it could be exploited.
DE LEON first sights Florida and lands (comes ashore) near ST. AUGUSTINE (March 27, 1513).
Between April 2 and 8, in the vicinity of present day St. Augustine,
he names the land “Pascua Florida” because of the time of it’s discovery
“The Feast of Easter”
No Gold or Emerald’s in Florida (Bahamas), but Ponce (a young adventurous sailor) was fascinated with the clear bubbling Springs he and his men came upon frequently, while hiking through the North Florida Jungle, Cypress-lined rivers, Pine Forest, and Oak Hammocks.
1514 — Europeans’ First View of Florida
— A Spanish map of (1502) depicts Florida Florida.
Peter Martyr writes in of a land near the Bahamas with“Water of Eternal Youth.”
THE WITCHES WELL — Rainbow River, fed by a number of springs. Turning down one of the tiniest tribuaries, we leave the Rainbow River (Tazan Movie monkey’s, Egrets, Osprey, Otters, Turtles) and slowly paddle into the Jungle. Drifting intto the pool (finding the source). Ancient, crystal blue, clear view to its bright white sand bottom more than 100 feet below. Cave Diving/Time Travel.
Lure of the Moon
• Jules Verne (1863):The Dreamer — “First Men In the Moon” (The Original Scientific Fiction)
• Carl Sagan: (1983):The Voyager — “Nova” (PBS) / “Contact” (Scientific Novel) Not Quite Sci-Fi.
• THE VOYAGER — Carl Sagan at a depressingly low-key announcement/press conference (1978)
— Wolfie’s On the Beach, folding-table and chair conference room. [Frank Wolfe/Mob]
— four years since the United States had sent a man into space
— two years since the (1976) American Bi-Centennial Celebration
a year-long reason to forget the stall in what, until then, had been Florida’s Meteoric Rise.
“MOON OVER MIAMI”
“WHERE THE BOYS ARE”
“I DREAM OF JEANIE”
“Save Pluto” Solar System Exploration (Ongoing).
— “Moon Over Miami”
Lust for Gold
• Atocha — Riding the Gulfstream North (Havana/Key West/St. Augustine)
• Sunk in a Storm (1622)
• Mel Fisher Meeting at 1960s concrete block hotel Cape Canaveral (1978)
On the road in an old Chevy Impala … riding low in the back … trunk loaded with silver bars.
(before he found the gold) … looking for funding.
Preying on EVERY MAN’s wanderlust. Dangling bait, telling ancient stories of TREASURE & GOLD.
On the road like The Highwaymen.
— Spanish Discovery
1516-1561 Florida is explored by Spaniards, including Ponce de Leon, Panfilo de Navarez, and Don de Luna Y Arellano.
Hernando de Soto lands in Florida on May 30, 1539, with nearly 600 men near Tampa Bay. De Luna establishes a colony on the shores of Pensacola Bay in 1559. This settlement is abandoned two years later and antedates by six years the founding of St. Augustine, which becomes known as the first attempt at permanent colonization in Florida. Fray Luis Cancer de Barbastro, a Dominican priest is killed by Indians near Tampa Bay in 1548. He is the first known churchman to die for his faith in this country.
1564 — Rene oulaine de Laudonniere of France builds a fort which he names Caroline for Charles IX, on the St. John’s River, which is known to the French as the River of May.
1565 — Pedro Menendez de Aviles of Spain enters a harbor which he calls San Augustin on August 28; he captures Fort Caroline which becomes San Mateo, a Spanish outpost. He also massacres the shipwrecked French forces of Admiral Jean Ribault on Anastasia Island. San Augustin will become known as St. Augustine, and will be settled continuously after Menendez leaves part of his troops there before his foray on Fort Caroline.
1566 — Intensive and continuing efforts are begun by Jesuit priest to convert the Indians of the area to the Christian faith. The mission system in Florida begins soon after the establishment of St. Augustine – nearly 200 years before the first mission in upper California is built.
1567 – 1568 — Dominique de urgues of France launches an expedition to avenge the dead of Fort Caroline and Anastasia Island. He captures San Mateo, hangs the Spanish, and returns to France.
1575 — The Franciscan friars begin their missionary work in Florida.
1586 — Sir Francis Drake, a British seafarer conquers and burns St. Augustine. The Spanish called Drake the Sea Dragon, because he was known as a most ruthless pirates in the Caribbean.
— Spanish Reign
Dry Tortugas (Green Sea Turtles)
Wyland — Murals /K-Mart
Guy Harvey (T-Shirts)
Ernest Hemmingway (Islands In the Stream)
Triumph, Tragedy, Treasure
Key West (1986)
1600 — Throughout the 17th century, although impeded by sporadic Indian outbreaks, Spanish colonization spreads in Florida. By the 1680s, San Marcos de Apalache (St. Marks of today) is a fort and a settlement of consequence. Pensacola is permanently resettled in 1698.
1702 — The British raid Spanish settlements including a 52-day siege of St. Augustine. The town is captured but the fort is not. Governor James Moore of Carolina invades middle Florida forcing the Spaniards and Christianized Indians to abandon the Apalachee missions. Within a few years, the mission era of Florida comes to an end — 1704.
1715 — Having been engaged for years in a number of ongoing wars, now including those in Florida, the Spanish Crown was desperate for money to fund years of on-going wars, now including those in Florida. The Spanish king ordered the Spanish treasure fleet to set sail from Cuba in August despite the threat of hurricane season. As the fleet neared Cape Canaveral, a hurricane smashed it against the Florida coast. The ships, carrying jewels, gold, and silver, were torn apart in the shallow waters from Port St. Lucie to Melbourne Beach. The royal treasure now sat in shallow water a mere 100 yards offshore. As the survivors tried to get word back to Cuba, the story of the wrecked fleet spread throughout the Caribbean.
Henry Jennings, a captain and landowner in Jamaica, heard the story, and decided to go after the gold. In the Spring (1716), he gathered a crew and departed from Port Royal, Jamaica, on his ship, The Bathsheba. When he arrived on Florida’s East Coast, near Sebastian Inlet, Jennings found the Spanish attempting to salvage the treasure.
Later, without killing, Jennings attacked the Spanish encampment, stealing more than 350,000 pieces of eight from the loosely guarded storehouse.
So successful, Jennings returned a second time, making off with more of the Spanish treasure, and then retiring to his home in Jamaica.
Many Pirate-minded sailors around the Caribbean took note of Jennings, and his legend inspired (in the early 1700s) what became known as the Golden Age of Pirates … a time that centuries later is still the subject of literature, song, cinema, and all other forms of media.
EARLY 1700s — The time of the familiar Blackbeard and Calico Jack.
1717 — The English government takes decisive action to stop the out-of-control piracy in the Caribbean. The King of England declared a royal proclamation to stop the looting. All pirates who accepted the royal proclamation by signing their names received a royal pardon. The king sent Woodes Rogers, a former pirate himself, to oversee and enforce the proclamation. Henry Jennings signed the royal pardon and retired a wealthy pirate, probably to Bermuda or Charleston, before fading into pirate history. He remains one of the rare pirates that retired on their booty.
1719 — The French capture Pensacola; however, as a result of an alliance with Spain, in order to stave off English conquests, it is soon returned to the Spanish. The French also occupy the Gulf Coast west of Pensacola.
1740 — The British General James Oglethorpe invades Florida from Georgia, seizing outlying forts. He lays siege to St. Augustine for 27 days until a lack of fresh water and provisions, plus the July sun and hordes of insects, cause him to turn away. He does free the 1500 soldiers and townspeople crowded in the Castillo de San Marcos
1763 — Spain ransoms Havana from the British with Florida. The British find St. Augustine to be a city with about 342 dwellings, Pensacola to have grown slightly beyond the original settlement, and the fort and town of San Marcos de Apalache at the head of the Gulf. The remainder is wilderness and efforts are made by the British to attract investors and settlers.
1781 — The Spanish capture Pensacola from the British.
1783 — The British return Florida to Spain. Numerous people, many of whom have fled the American Colonies during the Revolution, leave Florida for the Bahamas and the West Indies. Florida’s first newspaper, The East Florida Gazette, is published at St. Augustine by Williams Charles Wells. He rushes out an “extra” to proclaim the British defeat in the Revolutionary War.
1785-1821 — Numerous Spanish-American border disputes occur. Encouraged by the Americans, a republic is proclaimed in northeastern Florida in 1812 by “patriots” who run up their own flag over Fernandina.
America Stakes Its Final Claim
1812 — THE WAR Spain’s support of the American cause (against the English) represented Florida’s limited involvement in the war.
Andrew Jackson/Seminole Wars
1813 — Andrew Jackson captures Pensacola which has been used as a base of Gulf operations by the British against the Americans.
1816 — A red-hot cannon ball explodes the magazine of an abandoned British fort on the Apalachicola River, occupied by free and runaway Negro slaves and kills nearly 300. This is a result of Americans seeking to stop Spanish forays upon boats supplying American troops and settlers in Spanish territory.
1817-1819 Gregor MacGregor, a Scotch soldier of fortune, captures Fernandina, menaces St. Augustine, and leaves his lieutenants to resist an attack by the Spanish and volunteer American forces on Amelia Island. MacGregor is replaced by Luis Aury, who declares himself a Mexican, annexes Amelia Island to Mexico, and flies the Mexican flag. American forces evict him in December 1817, without bloodshed, and hold the area until yellow fever causes their withdrawal in 1819.
1818 — The First Seminole War
Andrew Jackson campaigns against the Indians and outlaws Negroes from Pensacola to the Suwannee.
He also executes (hangs on the river) two British traders, accusing them of inciting the Indians against the United States.
1819 — American Secretary of State John Quincy Adams and Spanish Minister Luis de Onis reach an agreement finally ratified by both nations in 1821, by which Spain gives the United States title to East and West Florida. The United States relinquishes its claims to Texas, and Spain assigns its rights in the Pacific Northwest to the U.S., leaving ownership of the Oregon Territory to be settled among the United States, Russia, and Great Britain. The United States pays about $4.1 million to Americans in Florida holding claims against Spain.
1821 — Andrew Jackson receives the Floridas from Spanish authorities at Pensacola on July 17. He leaves Florida in October and resigns as U.S. Commissioner and Governor of the territories of East and West Florida in November from his home in Tennessee.
1822 — The unified government of Florida is established on March 30,1822, when President James Monroe the Congressional Act providing for a Governor and a Legislative Council of 13 citizens. William P. Duval from Kentucky, a Virginian by birth, becomes the first Territorial Governor.
1824 — On March 4, Governor Duval proclaims the site of present day Tallahassee to be the seat of the new territory. The Legislative Council meets there in November in a log house erected in the vicinity of today’s capitol.
1825 — The Marquis de Lafayette is granted $200,000 and a township of land anywhere in the unsold public domain in recognition by Congress of his Revolutionary War services. He accepts a township adjacent to Tallahassee in the Territory of Florida. Lafayette never comes to his land, but initiates its settlement in 1831 by a short-lived colony of about 60 Norman peasants who attempt to cultivate vineyards, olive groves, and mulberry trees for feeding silk worms.
1834– Florida’s first railroads begin operation.
April 10,1834 — The Tallahassee to St. Marks is the first railroad to be incorporated.
April 14, 1836 — The St. Joseph to Lake Wimico line is the first railroad to be in service.
1835 — The Second Seminole War
With the beginning of the Second Seminole War, Major Francis L. Dade and two companies of U.S. Army troops are ambushed and massacred. In 1837 the Indian leader Osceola is imprisoned after entering an American camp under a flag of truce.
1837– General Zachary Taylor, future president of the United States, commands forces against the Seminoles. His battle on the eastern shore of Lake Okeechobee on Christmas Day in 1837 is considered the last organized encounter with the Seminoles
1838 — A convention held at St. Joseph drafts a Constitution in anticipation of early statehood.
1842 — The Second Seminole War ends with 3,824 Indians and Negroes relocated to Arkansas. The cost of the war to the Federal government, beyond the expense of the regular army, is placed at $20 million. While 1,500 soldiers are wounded or contract disease, no estimate of civilian casualties is made.
1845 — On March 3, the last day of his administration, President John Tyler signs into law the act granting statehood to Florida’s 57,921 inhabitants. William D. Moseley, a Jefferson County planter and a North Carolinian who had lived in Florida only six years, becomes the state’s first governor. David Levy Yulee, a native of St. Thomas in the West Indies and of a Portuguese Jewish family, is elected the first representative to Congress. However, before going to Washington, he is selected by the General Assembly as Florida’s first U.S. Senator, which with the exception of a four-week interruption, he continues to be until secession.
1851 — Dr. John Gorrie of Apalachicola patents the process of making ice artificially (Air-Conditioning), a process he had developed in 1845 to cool the rooms of his feverish patients. He dies in 1855 with little recognition; however, today his statue stands in the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
1855 — The General Assembly passes the first Internal Improvement Act which uses swamp and other land ceded by the Federal movement to the state to furnish incentives for a statewide railroad and canal transportation system.
1855 — The Third Seminole War
1860 — The Legislature, meeting after Abraham Lincoln‘s election as president, passes an Act for a Constitutional Convention to meet in Tallahassee and appropriates $100,000 for outfitting state troops. The Florida Railroad, the first cross state line, links Fernandina on the East Coast with Cedar Key on the West.
1861 — Florida withdraws from the Union on January 10. State troops occupy Chattahoochee Arsenal, Fort Clinch on Amelia Island, Fort Marion at St. Augustine, and Fort Barrancas at Pensacola. Federal authorities hold Fort Taylor at Key West
Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas, and Fort Pickens at Pensacola.
1861-1865 — Florida furnishes salt beef, and bacon to the armies of the Confederacy. The voting population of Florida is 14,374 in 1860 which gives greater significance to the fact that more than 16,000 Floridians serve in the Civil War 15,000 in the Confederate army and 1,290 in the Union forces. Of those in the Confederate armies, 6,700 serve for the entire war or until disabled or killed. Florida troops are represented in all principal battles and more than 1,000 are killed in action. At least 5,000 Florida soldiers are dead by the spring of 1865.
1864 — The Confederates defeat the Union army at Olustee and save the interior supply lines from Florida. This confines the Union troops, to the coast.
1865 — Home Guards and Cadets from the West Florida Seminary save Tallahassee from capture by turning back invading Federal troops at the Battle of Natural Bridge. The war ends with Tallahassee as the only Confederate state capital east of Mississippi to escape being captured. Federal troops do occupy Tallahassee on May 10 and the American flag once more flies over the Capitol on May 20. A Constitutional Convention convenes on October 25. It annuls the Ordinance of Secession and decrees the end of slavery; however, the right to vote is restricted to “free” white male persons of 21 years old or older.
1868 — A faction-torn Convention submits a new Constitution which the voters approve in May. It grants equal suffrage to all races. Civil government is resumed with an end to military rule on July 4.
1876 — Florida’s electoral votes, cast amid charges of fraud, give the winning margin for the U.S. Presidency to Rutherford B. Hayes. Democrats regain control of state offices and put an end to the carpetbag rule as Federal troops are withdrawn in 1877.
1881 — Hamilton Disston, Philadelphia saw industrialist, buys four million acres of the Everglades at 25 cents an acre to free the Internal Improvement Fund of debt and open the way fdevelopment of much of peninsular Florida.
1884 — The first train of the new Plant System, created from short-lines in south Florida by Henry B. Plant, rumbles into Tampa to produce the agricultural and industrial awakening of the West Coast.
1885 — A Constitutional Convention of 56 days broaden people’s share in their government. Cabinet posts are made electives, as are those of justice of the Supreme Court and all county offices except county commissioner. A State Board of Education is created and the establishment of normal schools is authorized.
1886 — Requiring a railroad adequate to serve a great hotel he has built at St. Augustine, Henry M. Flagler buys the first transportation link in the chain of railroad and hotel properties he builds down the East Coast to Key West.
1888 — The first commercial shipment of phosphate is made from the Peace River Valley, where the mineral had been discovered in 1881.
1889 — A yellow fever epidemic results in the creation of the State Board of Health.
1890 — The National Convention of Farmers’ Alliance, a predecessor of the Populist Party, is held in Ocala. Their radical demands include the abolition of national banks, unlimited coinage of silver, a graduated income tax and the direct election of senators.
1894-1899 — Repeated frosts kill much citrus and send the industry southward.
1898 — The Spanish-American War creates embarkation camps at Tampa, Miami and Jacksonville with thousands of soldiers and others who visit the state returning afterwards either as tourists or residents.
Henry Morrison Flagler
Florida East Coast Railroad
Ormond Beach (1930s)
Quest for Speed
John D. Rockefeller
Thomas Alva Edison
1901 — A primary election law is enacted to displace the convention system of nominating candidates for public office.
1905 — The Buckman Act consolidates state institutions of higher learning into three: The University of Florida at Gainesville, Florida State College for Women at Tallahassee and the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College for Negroes at Tallahassee. The Legislature also creates the Everglades Drainage District of 7500 square miles to reclaim water-burdened land for agriculture and cattle raising. An automobile registration law is enacted with 296 registering the first two years.
1911 — The first night flight in aviation history is made by Lincoln Beachey over Tampa.
1913 — Governor Trammell sponsors the first corrupt practices law to reduce the legal cost of seeking public office. The law allows the expenditure of $4000 by candidates for the U.S. Senate and for governor $3500 for cabinet positions.
1914 — The world’s first scheduled airline service with pilot Antony Jannus begins service from St. Petersburg to Tampa on January 1.
1915 — The first legal steps are taken toward establishment of a state constructed and maintained system of highways a governmental function left previously to local agencies but requiring emergency measures because of rapid development of automobile and tourist traffic.
1917-1918 — Florida is the scene of training for World War I fighting men particularly aviators as weather permits year-round activity.
1922 — WDAE Tampa is licensed by the U.S. Department of Commerce on May 15 1922 to the Tampa Publishing Company and goes on the air as Florida’s first licensed broadcast radio station.
1924-1925 With a large influx of visitors many of whom remain as residents a huge land boom occurs. Inestimable sums are spent by public and private agencies for internal improvements as scores of new cities are established.
1925 — The Miami Herald has the largest advertising lineage of any newspaper in the United States 42.5 million lines in contrast to 33.3 million by its nearest competitor.
1926 — A hurricane devastates the Miami area taking nearly 200 lives. A constitutional amendment broadens the power of the Legislature to appropriate money for schools.
1927 — The State Board of Public Welfare is created. Large-scale growing and milling of sugar begins in the Everglades at Clewiston.
1928 — Water driven from Lake Okeechobee by a hurricane causes the drowning of some 1500 persons.
1929 — First commercial airline flights between Key West and Havana become forerunners of Latin-American operations of Pan American World Airways from Miami.
1933 — In an attempt to assassinate President-elect Roosevelt in Bayfront Park in Miami, Guiseppi Zangara fatally wounds Mayor Anton Cermak of Chicago. Zangara is put to death in Raiford Prison’s electric chair. The sale of beer is legalized. The first New Deal agency in Florida the Civilian Conservation Corps begins operation.
1934 — A constitutional amendment exempts homesteads from taxation up to $5000 valuation except for payment of bonds previously issued.
1935 — A storm sweeps a mid-section of the Florida Keys and kills nearly 400 persons including some 200 veterans of World War 1.
1937 — The Poll Tax is abolished as a prerequisite to voting.
1939 — The Highway Patrol to be financed from the sale of driver licenses is established.
1940 — The ad valorem tax for state purposes is abolished.
1941-1945 — Florida expands with World War II industry as it becomes a training ground for tens of thousands of men and women of the armed forces at camps like Camp Blanding and Camp Gordon Johnston and as it forges vessels and tools for the conflict. Tourist Hotels and restaurants at Miami Beach, Daytona Beach, St. Petersburg and other resort centers afford quick means for accommodating numerous trainees.
1942 — A constitutional amendment pledges proceeds of two cents of gasoline tax for 50 years to retirement of county road and bridge bonds.
1943 — A cigarette tax is levied to replace war-lost revenue from horse and dog racing.
1945 — A cigarette tax is reenacted and increased from three cents to four and taxes on beer and other alcoholic beverages are raised to finance a multimillion dollar improvement program at state institutions and to provide more money for schools. A state advertising program of $500,000 a year is instituted.
1947 — The Legislature enacts the Minimum Foundation Program to assure educational opportunity for children in elementary schools of all counties ant to encourage teachers to improve their qualifications by offering better pay for better training. The Florida State College for Women changes into co-educational Florida State University and the University of Florida is opened to female students.
1949 — The Legislature bans livestock from highways enacts an omnibus citrus law designed to raise marketing standards for fresh and canned fruit and overhauls election laws. In a special revenue-raising session it also enacts a three percent retail sales tax.
1950 — SR50/Roads
1950 Frozen concentrate of citrus juices becomes a major industry. Florida ranks 12th in the nation in production of beef cattle. Federal census count 2,771,305 Floridians.
1953 — The Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College for Negroes (FAMU) becomes Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.
1954 — The first Republican since 1885 is elected to Congress. Six Republicans are elected to the State House of Representatives. The Sunshine Skyway stretching 15.2 miles across Lower Tampa Bay is opened to toll traffic.
1955 — The Legislature authorizes a state-long turnpike. Lawmakers are deadlocked for months in special session over reapportionment of the State Senate.
1956 — LeRoy Collins achieves two political “firsts.” Elected in 1954 to complete the term of the late Governor McCarty Collins is the first chief executive reelected to a successive term. Collins also is the first candidate for governor to win a first- primary victory, defeating five opponents for the Democratic nomination.
1957 — The Legislature authorizes statewide educational television. Funds are appropriated for the University of South Florida and for the expansion of a network of community colleges.
1958 — A second major federal agency the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) begins operations at Cape Canaveral. From here the United States launches its first earth satellite Explorer 1.
The Federal census ranks Florida 10th in the nation with a population of 4,951,560.
1961 — There is a successful launch of astronauts from Cape Canaveral: Navy Commander Alan Shepard on May 5 and Air Force Capt. Virgil Grissom on July 21 for suborbital flights down the Atlantic Missile Range. The Cape is selected as the launching site for a manned lunar landing program. The Census Bureau ranks Florida ninth in population.
1962 — The Space Age spreads out from Cape Canaveral’s launching base, and influences the state in many ways higher education and industry being among the most important.
1963 — President Lyndon Johnson changes the name Cape Canaveral to Cape Kennedy and renames the installation the John F. Kennedy Space Center in honor of the late president. The Constitution is amended to authorize sale of state bonds to construct buildings at universities, colleges and vocational schools. Voters also approve issuance of bonds to purchase land for conservation purposes. Election of governor and Cabinet is shifted to off-year from Presidential election.
1964 — First classes are held at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, and the University of West Florida is the name given to the institution established at Pensacola. Hurricane Cleo causes property damage estimated at $115,320,000 but no life is lost.
1965 — The Board of Regents composed of nine members with ultimate nine-year terms, takes over policy-making for the state’s institutions of higher learning from the Board of Control. The first U.S. launch of two-man spacecraft with Majors Edward H. White and James McDivitt orbits the earth 62 times.
1966 — The $700 million Walt Disney World, to be built in the Orlando area is announced. Claude R. Kirk, Jr. is elected the 36th governor of Florida. Kirk is the first Republican governor since Reconstruction. GOP nominees also win three of Florida’s 12 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Voters approve early-start Legislature with Senate and House organizing on the Tuesday following the November general elections. Previously the Legislature organized in April.
1967 — Repeated efforts by the Legislature to devise an acceptable plan of apportionment ends when a three-judge Federal court draws the boundaries of Senate and House districts and orders new elections. Republicans capture 20 of 48 Senate seats and 39 of 119 House seats.
1968 — The Legislature submits and voters ratify three amendments which combine to give the state an almost new Constitution. The Republicans hold their national convention at Miami Beach the first national gathering of a major political party ever convened in Florida. The first Republican ever elected by popular ballot is sent to the U.S. Senate. There is a statewide teacher walkout.
1969 — With the office reestablished by the revised Constitution the first lieutenant governor since 1889 is appointed. The Legislature reorganizes state government so that over 170 separate agencies become 22 operating departments. On July 16 Apollo 11 lifts off from Cape Kennedy to carry the first men to the moon.
Democrat Reubin Askew is elected Florida’s 37th governor, defeating incumbent Republican Governor Claude Kirk in his bid for a second term. His running-mate Secretary of State Tom Adams, becomes the state’s second lieutenant governor under the revised Constitution of 1968.
1971 — Apollo 14 plagued with many troubling incidents, touches down on the Moon 108 hours after blast-off from the Kennedy Space Center. Capt. Alan B. Shepard is in command. President Richard M. Nixon orders a halt to the Cross Florida Barge Canal after $50 million has been spent on the 107-mile structure. Amtrak begins operation of service into Orlando. Apollo 15 astronauts explore the Moon for three days in a record-breaking flight of 12 days originating from Kennedy Space Center. Walt Disney World opens October 1st. Estimated cost of the facility is between $500 and $600 million.
1972 — Apollo 16, despite a guidance malfunction, lands on the Moon for three days of exploration and returns to Earth without further incident. Tropical storm Agnes roars out of the south Atlantic to cause heavy damage along the eastern seaboard northward from Miami. Paula Hawkins becomes the first woman elected to the Florida Public Service Commission.
1973 — Despite fuel shortages in the latter part of the year, Florida sets an all-time record for influx of visitors, when 25.5 million people visit the Sunshine State. After seven and one-half years and nearly 260,000 refugees, the “freedom flights” from Cuba come to an end on April 7th. The airlifts, bringing refugees into Miami at the rate of 48,000 a year, help transform the ethnic makeup of Dade County by adding at least 100,000 Cubans to the 150,000 already there.
1974 — Reubin Askew becomes the first Governor to be elected to successive four- year terms. The Legislature creates an ethics commission to oversee public officers and employees. It also enacts legislation for collective bargaining by public employees.
1975 — The state jobless rate hits a 25-year high in January at 8.3 percent and eventually unemployment reaches 9.3 percent. Governor Askew appoints Joseph W. Hatchett to the Supreme Court, the first black justice in the court’s history.
1976 — Former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter tops Alabama Governor George C. Wallace and 10 other Democrats in Florida’s Presidential Preference Primary, giving Carter’s campaign impetus which leads to his party’s nomination for president. In the same primary, Florida Republicans prefer President Gerald R. Ford over former California Governor Ronald Reagan. Carter garners 51.93 percent of Florida’s general election vote.
1977 — Severe cold devastates citrus and vegetable plants. This causes President Carter to proclaim 34 counties disaster areas. The U.S. Corps of Engineers recommends against resumption of construction on Cross Florida Barge Canal.
1978 — Jesse J McCrary, Jr. is appointed Secretary of State by Governor Reubin Askew on July 19, the second black to serve as Secretary of State and as a member of the Cabinet. Miami businessman and former State Senator Bob Graham wins election as Florida’s 38th governor.
1979 — Miami Beach reports a record resort tax collection for its fiscal year. Taxes received from hotel rooms, food and beverages reach a record high of $3,727,380. It is the twentieth anniversary of Busch Gardens in Tampa. The grand opening of the Museum of Botany and Fine Arts at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota marks the first time science and art are combined in such a setting.
1980 — The Miami Seaquarium celebrates its 25th Anniversary. Tampa opens its own $6.2 million water theme park, Adventure Island. A bill raising the drinking age from 18 to 19 is passed, however, all military personnel are excluded.
1981 — The first manned space shuttle (Columbia) launches are made from Kennedy Space Center, with launch schedules to increase in the year ahead. Unmanned rockets with payloads are scheduled approximately every month by NASA from the KSC launch pads.
1982 — The Florida Legislature completes a difficult reapportionment after an extended session. Gov. Bob Graham is reelected for a second term. The $800 million EPCOT Center opens at Walt Disney World.
1983 — The space shuttle Challenger launches its first 5-member crew and the first American woman, Sally Ride, into space from Kennedy Space Center. Thirty-eight overseas highway bridges from Key Largo to Key West are completed under the Florida Keys Bridge Replacement Program.
1984 — The Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay is under reconstruction. It is expected to completed in 1986 at a cost of $215 million. Donald Duck’s “50th Anniversary Celebration” is held in June at Walt Disney World. Busch Gardens celebrates its 25th anniversary. The Miami Metro Rail, the only inner city, elevated rail system in Florida, begins service in May.
1985 Florida’s state park system marks its 50th anniversary. Begun during the Depression with nine parks, the system now includes 92 park and recreation areas. DeSoto Trail was officially dedicated during May in Inverness. The Kennedy Space Center’s Visitor Center is renamed Spaceport USA. Two well-preserved, intact human brains are discovered by Glenn Doran, archaeologist at Florida State University when he uncovered the 7,000-plus-year-old skulls in the swamps near Titusville.
1986 — The Kennedy Space Center witnesses America’s worst space tragedy when the space shuttle “Challenger” explodes after takeoff. All seven astronauts aboard are killed. Treasure hunter Mel Fisher continues to salvage vast amounts of gold and silver from his discovery of the Spanish galleon “Nuestra Senora de Atocha” which sank in 1622 during a hurricane off Key West. The television series “Miami Vice” continues to capture the nation’s imagination, revitalizing interest and tourism for South Florida. Walt Disney World breaks ground for a major movie and television production studio to be constructed in Orlando.
1987 — Bob Martinez is the first person of Spanish ancestry to become governor of Florida. Calvin Jones, state archaeologist finds what is believed to be the site of Hernando de Soto’s 1539-40 camp in Tallahassee. U.S. Census Bureau estimates indicate that Florida has surpassed Pennsylvania to become the fourth most populous state in the nation. The ranking will not become official until the Bureau publishes its report in early 1988. It is predicted that Florida will be the third most populous state by the year 2000.
1988 — Florida once again becomes the center for America’s space program. Regular space shuttle flights resume in October for the first time since the “Challenger” disaster in 1986. Two Republicans capture posts in the Florida Cabinet in the general election. Jim Smith is elected Secretary of State and Tom Gallagher takes over as State Insurance Commissioner. This is the first time since the Reconstruction Era of the 1870s that Republicans have won any statewide office other than governor. Floridians now have a state-operated lottery which gives away some of the largest prizes in the nation. An international team, using experimental technology, completes the world’s deepest cave-diving expedition at Wakulla Springs in north Florida.
1989 — U.S. Representative Claude Pepper, dies in May. Genetic testing reveals that a Wauchula hospital a decade ago accidentally switched babies belonging to Sarasota and Pennsylvania couples, setting off a legal battle. Devastating cold front hits state in December, closing airports and interstates and causing statewide power outages.
1990 — Panama’s governor Manuel Noriega is brought to Miami in January for trial on drug charges. Joe Robbie, Miami Dolphins founder, dies in January. Flooding Panhandle rivers in March force evacuation of 2,000 homes. Owners/players contract dispute delays spring training baseball season. St. Petersburg’s Suncoast Dome opens in March. Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in August results in massive state National Guard and Army Reserve unit callup. Lotto in September awards record $106 million jackpot. State gasoline prices in September soar to seven-year high. Democrat Lawton Chiles soundly trounces Republican incumbent Bob Martinez in governor’s race. Outgoing Governor Martinez in November was named the nation’s drug czar. In December, Tampa is awarded franchise team in the National Hockey League.
1991 — Lawton Chiles in January is sworn in as state’s 41st governor. Miami-based Eastern Airlines in January announces closing due to financial losses. Former Governor LeRoy Collins, 82, dies in March. U.S. Senator Bruce Smathers in April donates record $20 million to University of Florida library system. In May Legislature approves $29.3 billion state budget, including $164 million in new taxes. At Governor Chiles’ request Legislature in May creates new Department of Elderly Affairs. Also in May, Queen Elizabeth 11 visits Miami and Tampa, and confers honorary knighthood on Tampa resident Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf. Five Navy bombers found by treasure salvers are determined not to be the “Lost Squadron” of Bermuda Triangle fame that went down in 1945 off the coast of Florida. Miami and Denver are awarded new national major league baseball franchises. The 1990 Federal Census puts Florida’s population at 12,937,926, a 34 percent increase from 1980.
1992 — Homestead and adjacent South Florida are devastated on August 24 by the costliest natural disaster in American history, Hurricane Andrew, demanding billions in aid. There were 58 deaths directly or indirectly related to Andrew. The hurricane destroyed 25,000 homes and damaged 10,000 others. Twenty-two thousand Federal troops were deployed. Shelters housed 80,000 persons.
First elections since Florida gained four additional seats in the U.S. House of Representatives saw Cubans and Afro-Americans seated. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Cuban-born, joined lleana Ros-Lehtinen, the first Cuban, elected to the Florida House in 1982, the Florida Senate in 1986, and the U.S. House in 1989. Among Afro-Americans elected to Congress was Carrie Meek of Miami. Sixty-six in 1993, her political career saw her elected first to the Florida House of Representatives, the Florida Senate, and the U.S. House of Representatives.
1993 — Janet Reno, State Attorney for Dade County (Miami) for 15 years named Attorney General of the U.S. by President Bill Clinton, the first woman to so serve in U.S. history. Although a pro-choice Democrat she managed to win reelection four times in a conservative stronghold, the last time without opposition
The Eagle Has Landed
Navigating by the Stars
A New World
Lure of the Moon
“From the Earth to the Moon”
The Original 7
Neil Armstrong Rendezvous
Ed White Space Walk
False Start/Tragedy At Go
Christmas Eve 1968 / Genesis
EARTHRISE: A Revelation
“Dark Side Of The Moon” b/ Pink Floyd
Science vs. Religion
Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy 1687
Theory of Relativity
Laws of Planetary Motion
Reflecting Telescope (first practical)
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni
March 6, 1475 – February 18, 1564
Italian sculptor, painter, architect and poet of the High Renaissance born in the Republic of Florence, who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art. Considered by many the greatest artist of his lifetime, and by some the greatest artist of all time, his artistic versatility was of such a high order that he is often considered a contender for the title of the archetypal Renaissance man, along with his rival, the fellow Florentine and client of the Medici, Leonardo da Vinci.
A number of Michelangelo’s works of painting, sculpture and architecture rank among the most famous in existence. His output in these fields was prodigious; given the sheer volume of surviving correspondence, sketches and reminiscences, he is the best-documented artist of the 16th century. He sculpted two of his best-known works, the Pietà and David, before the age of thirty. Despite holding a low opinion of painting, he also created two of the most influential frescoes in the history of Western art: the scenes from Genesis on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, and The Last Judgment on its altar wall. His design of the Laurentian Library pioneered Mannerist architecture. At the age of 74, he succeeded Antonio da Sangallo the Younger as the architect of St. Peter’s Basilica. He transformed the plan so that the western end was finished to his design, as was the dome, with some modification, after his death.