Spain established several settlements in Florida, with varying degrees of success.
In 1559, Don Tristán de Luna y Arellano established a settlement at present-day Pensacola, making it the first attempted settlement in Florida, but it was mostly abandoned by 1561. Augustine (San Agustín) was established under the leadership of admiral and governor Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, creating what would become one of the oldest, continuously-occupied European settlements in the continental U. and establishing the first generation of Floridanos and the Government of Florida.
Florida is the 22nd-most extensive (65,755 sq mi—170,304 km) of the U. The Miami metropolitan area is Florida's most populous urban area. About two-thirds of Florida occupies a peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.
Florida has the longest coastline in the contiguous United States, approximately 1,350 miles (2,170 km), not including the contribution of the many barrier islands. The climate varies from subtropical in the north to tropical in the south.
; Spanish for "land of flowers") is the southernmost contiguous state in the United States.
The state is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the south by the Straits of Florida. Jacksonville is the most populous municipality in the state and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States.
Spain maintained strategic control over the region by converting the local tribes to Christianity.
The marriage between Luisa de Abrego, a free black domestic servant from Seville and Miguel Rodríguez, a white Segovian conquistador in 1565 in St.
In 1763, Spain traded Florida to the Kingdom of Great Britain for control of Havana, Cuba, which had been captured by the British during the Seven Years' War.It is internationally known for golf, tennis, auto racing and water sports.By the 16th century, the earliest time for which there is a historical record, major Native American groups included the Apalachee of the Florida Panhandle, the Timucua of northern and central Florida, the Ais of the central Atlantic coast, the Tocobaga of the Tampa Bay area, the Calusa of southwest Florida and the Tequesta of the southeastern coast.It is the only state that borders both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. The American alligator, American crocodile, Florida panther, and manatee can be found in Everglades National Park in the southern part of the state. Since the first European contact was made in 1513 by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León – who named it Florida, informally La Florida ( – Florida was a challenge for the European colonial powers before it gained statehood in the United States in 1845.Much of the state is at or near sea level and is characterized by sedimentary soil. Along with Hawaii, Florida is one of only two states that has a tropical climate, and is the only continental U. It was a principal location of the Seminole Wars against the Native Americans, and racial segregation after the American Civil War.In May 1539, Conquistador Hernando de Soto skirted the coast of Florida, searching for a deep harbor to land.He described seeing a thick wall of red mangroves spread mile after mile, some reaching as high as 70 feet (21 m), with intertwined and elevated roots making landing difficult.Today, Florida is distinctive for its large Cuban expatriate community and high population growth, as well as for its increasing environmental issues.The state's economy relies mainly on tourism, agriculture, and transportation, which developed in the late 19th century.The geographical area of Florida diminished with the establishment of English settlements to the north and French claims to the west. Augustine, burning the city and its cathedral to the ground several times.Spain built the Castillo de San Marcos in 1672 and Fort Matanzas in 1742 to defend Florida's capital city from attacks, and to maintain its strategic position in the defense of the Captaincy General of Cuba and the Spanish West Indies.