Guide Florida in the Popular Imagination: Essays on the Cultural Landscape of the Sunshine State

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These essays explore many facets of Florida's culture, examining such topics as the ever-present specters of Mickey, Shamu, and other theme park staples; early tourist sites en This book provides the first critical discussion of popular culture in Florida, which began drawing winter visitors before the Civil War and now boasts more than a hundred million visitors annually. These essays explore many facets of Florida's culture, examining such topics as the ever-present specters of Mickey, Shamu, and other theme park staples; early tourist sites enjoyed by tin-can campers before the ubiquitous megaparks elbowed out more organically Floridian attractions; Key West as a mecca of queer culture; the infamous relationship between Key West and its favorite son, Ernest Hemingway; and an overview of several iconic Florida institutions, including Bike Week, the Daytona , and Spring Break.

The work concludes with a look at Florida's role in the highly controversial presidential election of Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Other Editions 3. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Florida in the Popular Imagination , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Florida in the Popular Imagination.

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Showing Rating details. In Florida, with over 19 million people, surpassed New York and became the third largest state in population. The economy has developed over time, starting with natural resource exploitation in logging, mining, fishing, and sponge diving; as well as cattle ranching, farming, and citrus growing. The tourism, real estate, trade, banking, and retirement destination businesses followed. The foundation of Florida was located in the continent of Gondwana at the South Pole million years ago Mya. When Gondwana collided with the continent of Laurentia Mya, it had moved further north.

By then, Florida was surrounded by desert, in the middle of a new continent, Pangaea. When Pangaea broke up mya, Florida assumed a shape as a peninsula. When glaciation locked up the world's water, starting 2. As a result, the Florida peninsula not only emerged, but had a land area about twice what it is today.

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Florida also had a drier and cooler climate than in more recent times. There were few flowing rivers or wetlands. Paleo-Indians entered what is now Florida at least 14, years ago, during the last glacial period. Fresh water was available only in sinkholes and limestone catchment basins, and paleo-Indian activity centered around these relatively scarce watering holes. Sinkholes and basins in the beds of modern rivers such as the Page-Ladson site in the Aucilla River have yielded a rich trove of paleo-Indian artifacts , including Clovis points.

Excavations at an ancient stone quarry the Container Corporation of America site in Marion County yielded "crude stone implements" showing signs of extensive wear from deposits below those holding Paleo-Indian artifacts. Thermoluminescence dating and weathering analysis independently gave dates of 26, to 28, years ago for the creation of the artifacts. The findings are controversial, and funding has not been available for follow-up studies. As the glaciers began retreating about BC , the climate of Florida became warmer and wetter.

As the glaciers melted, the sea level rose, reducing the land mass. Many prehistoric habitation sites along the old coastline were slowly submerged, making artifacts from early coastal cultures difficult to find. With an increase in population and more water available, the people occupied many more locations, as evidenced by numerous artifacts. Archaeologists have learned much about the Early Archaic people of Florida from the discoveries made at Windover Pond.

People started living in villages near wetlands and along the coast at favored sites that were likely occupied for multiple generations. The Late Archaic period started about BC, when Florida's climate had reached current conditions and the sea had risen close to its present level. People commonly occupied both fresh and saltwater wetlands. Large shell middens accumulated during this period. Many people lived in large villages with purpose-built earthwork mounds , such as at Horr's Island , which had the largest permanently occupied community in the Archaic period in the southeastern United States.

It also has the oldest burial mound in the East, dating to about BC. People began making fired pottery in Florida by BC. By about BC, the Archaic culture, which had been fairly uniform across Florida, began to fragment into regional cultures. The post-Archaic cultures of eastern and southern Florida developed in relative isolation. It is likely that the peoples living in those areas at the time of first European contact were direct descendants of the inhabitants of the areas in late Archaic and Woodland times. The cultures of the Florida panhandle and the north and central Gulf coast of the Florida peninsula were strongly influenced by the Mississippian culture , producing two local variants known as the Pensacola culture and the Fort Walton culture.

Continuity in cultural history suggests that the peoples of those areas were also descended from the inhabitants of the Archaic period. In the panhandle and the northern part of the peninsula, people adopted cultivation of maize. Its cultivation was restricted or absent among the tribes who lived south of the Timucuan -speaking people i. At the time of first European contact in the early 16th century, Florida was inhabited by an estimated , people belonging to a number of tribes. The Spanish Empire sent Spanish explorers recording nearly one hundred names of groups they encountered, ranging from organized political entities such as the Apalachee , with a population of around 50,, to villages with no known political affiliation.

There were an estimated , speakers of dialects of the Timucua language , but the Timucua were organized as groups of villages and did not share a common culture. Early explorers such as Alvaro Mexia wrote about them; other information has been learned through archeological research. The populations of all of these tribes decreased markedly during the period of Spanish control of Florida, mostly due to epidemics of newly introduced infectious diseases , to which the Native Americans had no natural immunity.

The diminished population of the original natives allowed outside groups, such as the Seminoles, to move into the area starting about At the beginning of the 18th century, when the indigenous peoples were already much reduced in populations, tribes from areas to the north of Florida, supplied with arms and occasionally accompanied by white colonists from the Province of Carolina , raided throughout Florida. They burned villages, wounded many of the inhabitants and carried captives back to Charles Towne to be sold into slavery.

Most of the villages in Florida were abandoned, and the survivors sought refuge at St. Augustine or in isolated spots around the state. Many tribes became extinct during this period and by the end of the 18th century. Some of the Apalachee eventually reached Louisiana, where they survived as a distinct group for at least another century.

The Spanish evacuated the few surviving members of the Florida tribes to Cuba in when Spain transferred the territory of Florida to the British Empire following the latter's victory against France in the Seven Years' War. They have three federally recognized tribes: the largest is the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma , formed of descendants since removal in the s; others are the smaller Seminole Tribe of Florida and the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida. Florida and much of the nearby coast is depicted in the Cantino planisphere , an early world map which was surreptitiously copied in from the most current Portuguese sailing charts and smuggled into Italy a full decade before Ponce sailed north from Puerto Rico on his voyage of exploration.

He also gave Florida its name, which means "full of flowers. The expedition included people, including women and free blacks. Although it is often stated that he sighted the peninsula for the first time on March 27, and thought it was an island, he probably saw one of the Bahamas at that time. After briefly exploring the land south of present-day St. Augustine , the expedition sailed south to the bottom of the Florida peninsula, through the Florida Keys , and up the west coast as far north as Charlotte Harbor , where they briefly skirmished with the Calusa before heading back to Puerto Rico.

From onward, the land became known as La Florida. After , and throughout the 18th century, Tegesta after the Tequesta tribe was an alternate name of choice for the Florida peninsula following publication of a map by the Dutch cartographer Hessel Gerritsz in Joannes de Laet 's History of the New World. Further Spanish attempts to explore and colonize Florida were disastrous. Hernando de Soto landed in Florida in and began a multi-year trek through what is now the southeastern United States in which he found no gold but lost his life.

The horse , which the natives had hunted to extinction 10, years ago, [30] was reintroduced into North America by the European explorers, and into Florida in Augustine [33] which is the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in any U. From this base of operations, the Spanish began building Catholic missions.

All colonial cities were founded near the mouths of rivers. Augustine was founded where the Matanzas Inlet permitted access to the Matanzas River. Augustine became the most important settlement in Florida. Little more than a fort, it was frequently attacked and burned, with most residents killed or fled.

It was notably devastated in , when English sea captain and sometime pirate Sir Francis Drake plundered and burned the city. Catholic missionaries used St. Augustine as a base of operations to establish over far-flung missions throughout Florida. Pirate attacks and British raids were unrelenting, and the town was burned to the ground several times until Spain fortified it with the Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas Throughout the 17th century, English settlers in Virginia and the Carolinas gradually pushed the boundaries of Spanish territory south, while the French settlements along the Mississippi River encroached on the western borders of the Spanish claim.

Augustine, but they could not gain control of the fort. In , Moore and his soldiers began burning Spanish missions in north Florida and executing Indians friendly with the Spanish. The collapse of the Spanish mission system and the defeat of the Spanish-allied Apalachee Indians the Apalachee massacre opened Florida up to slave raids , which reached to the Florida Keys and decimated the native population. The Yamasee War of — in the Carolinas resulted in numerous Indian refugees, such as the Yamasee, moving south to Florida.

In , the French captured the Spanish settlement at Pensacola. The border between the British colony of Georgia and Spanish Florida was never clearly defined, and was the subject of constant small- and larger-scale harassment in both directions, until it was ceded by Spain to the U. Spanish Florida, so as to undermine the stability of the British slave-based plantation economy, encouraged the escape of slaves and offered them freedom and refuge if they converted to Catholicism.

This was well known through word of mouth in the colonies of Georgia and South Carolina, and hundreds of slaves escaped. This predecessor of the Underground Railway ran south. They settled in a buffer community north of St. This angered the British colonists. The British and their colonies made war repeatedly against the Spanish, especially in and again in , when a large force under James Oglethorpe sailed south from Georgia and besieged St.

Augustine but were unable to take the Castillo de San Marcos. Creek and Seminole Native Americans, who had established buffer settlements in Florida at the invitation of the Spanish government, also welcomed many of those slaves. In , Governor John Moultrie wrote to the English Board of Trade that "It has been a practice for a good while past, for negroes to run away from their Masters, and get into the Indian towns, from whence it proved very difficult to get them back.

It was part of a large expansion of British territory following the country's victory in the Seven Years' War. Almost the entire Spanish population left, taking along most of the remaining indigenous population to Cuba. Augustine to Georgia. The road crossed the St. Johns River at a narrow point, which the Seminole called Wacca Pilatka and the British named "Cow Ford", both names ostensibly reflecting the fact that cattle were brought across the river there.

In order to induce settlers to move to the two new colonies reports of the natural wealth of Florida were published in England. A large number of British colonists who were "energetic and of good character" moved to Florida, mostly coming from South Carolina , Georgia and England though there was also a group of settlers who came from the colony of Bermuda. Johns County and Nassau County. The British built good public roads and introduced the cultivation of sugar cane, indigo and fruits as well the export of lumber.

As a result of these initiatives northeastern Florida prospered economically in a way it never did under Spanish rule. Furthermore, the British governors were directed to call general assemblies as soon as possible in order to make laws for the Floridas and in the meantime they were, with the advice of councils, to establish courts. This would be the first introduction of much of the English-derived legal system which Florida still has today including trial-by-jury , habeas corpus and county-based government.

A Scottish settler named Dr Andrew Turnbull transplanted around 1, indentured settlers, from Menorca , Majorca , Ibiza , Smyrna , Crete , Mani Peninsula , and Sicily , to grow hemp , sugarcane , indigo , and to produce rum. Settled at New Smyrna , within months the colony suffered major losses primarily due to insect-borne diseases and Native American raids. Most crops did not do well in the sandy Florida soil. Those that survived rarely equaled the quality produced in other colonies. The colonists tired of their servitude and Turnbull's rule.

On several occasions, he used African slaves to whip his unruly settlers. The settlement collapsed and the survivors fled to safety with the British authorities in St. Their descendants survive to this day, as does the name New Smyrna. During this time, Creek Indians migrated into Florida and formed the Seminole tribe. When representatives from thirteen American colonies declared independence from Great Britain in , many Floridians condemned the action. East and West Florida were backwater outposts whose populations included a large percentage of British military personnel and their families.

There was little trade in or out of the colonies, so they were largely unaffected by the Stamp Act Crisis of and later policies which pushed other British colonies together in common interest against a shared threat. Thus, a majority of Florida residents were Loyalists , and the colonies of East and West Florida declined to send representatives to any of the sessions of the Continental Congress.

During the American Revolutionary War , some Floridians actually helped lead raids into nearby states. The two Floridas remained loyal to Great Britain throughout the war. However, Spain, participating indirectly in the war as an ally of France, captured Pensacola from the British in In , the Treaty of Paris ended the Revolutionary War and returned all of Florida to Spanish control, but without specifying the boundaries. The Spanish wanted the expanded boundary, while the new United States demanded the old boundary at the 31st parallel north.

In the Treaty of San Lorenzo of , Spain recognized the 31st parallel as the boundary.

Florida in the Popular Imagination – McFarland

Spain's reoccupation of Florida involved the arrival of some officials and soldiers at St. Augustine and Pensacola but very few new settlers. Most British residents had departed, leaving much of the territory depopulated and unguarded. North Florida continued to be the home of the newly amalgamated Seminole culture and a haven for people escaping slavery in the southern United States.

Settlers in southern Georgia demanded that Spain control the Seminole population and capture runaway slaves, to which Spain replied that the slave owners were welcome to recapture the runaways themselves. Americans of English descent and Scots-Irish descent began moving into northern Florida from the backwoods of Georgia and South Carolina. Though technically not allowed by the Spanish authorities, the Spanish were never able to effectively police the border region, and a mix of American settlers, escaped slaves, and Native Americans would continue to migrate into Florida unchecked.

The American migrants, mixing with the few remaining settlers from Florida's British period, would be the progenitors of the population known as Florida Crackers.

Florida in the Popular Imagination: Essays on the Cultural Landscape of the Sunshine State

American settlers established a permanent foothold in the western end of Florida's panhandle, ignoring Spanish officials. The British settlers who had remained also resented Spanish rule, leading to a rebellion in and the establishment for ninety days of the so-called Free and Independent Republic of West Florida on September After meetings beginning in June, rebels overcame the Spanish garrison at Baton Rouge now in Louisiana , and unfurled the flag of the new republic: a single white star on a blue field.

This flag would later become known as the " Bonnie Blue Flag ".

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In , parts of West Florida were annexed by proclamation of President James Madison , who claimed the region as part of the Louisiana Purchase. These parts were incorporated into the newly formed Territory of Orleans. The U. Spain continued to dispute the area, though the United States gradually increased the area it occupied.

This area eventually became parts of the American states of Louisiana and Mississippi. In March , Americans took control of Amelia Island on the Atlantic coast declared that they were a republic free from Spanish rule. The revolt was organized by General George Matthews of the U. Army, who had been authorized to secretly negotiate with the Spanish governor for American acquisition of East Florida.

Instead, Matthews organized a group of frontiersman in Georgia who arrived at the Spanish town of Fernandina and demanded the surrender of all of Amelia Island. Upon declaring the island a republic, he led his volunteers along with a contingent of regular army troops south towards St. Upon hearing of Matthews' actions, Congress became alarmed that he would provoke war with Spain, and Secretary of State James Monroe ordered Matthews to return all captured territory to Spanish authorities.

After several months of negotiations on the withdrawal of the Americans and compensation for their foraging through the countryside, the countries came to an agreement, and Amelia Island was returned to the Spanish in May The unguarded Florida border was an increasing source of tension late in the second Spanish period. Seminoles based in East Florida had been accused of raiding Georgia settlements, and settlers were angered by the stream of slaves escaping into Florida, where they were welcomed.

Negro Fort , an abandoned British fortification in the far west of the territory, was manned by both Indians and blacks. The United States Army would lead increasingly frequent incursions into Spanish territory, including the — campaign against the Seminole Indians by Andrew Jackson that became known later as the First Seminole War. Jackson took temporary control of Pensacola in , and the United States effectively controlled East Florida.

According to Secretary of State John Quincy Adams , this was necessary because Florida had become "a derelict open to the occupancy of every enemy, civilized or savage, of the United States, and serving no other earthly purpose than as a post of annoyance to them. After Jackson's incursions, Spain decided that Florida had become too much of a burden, as it could not afford to send settlers or garrisons to properly occupy the land and was receiving very little revenue from the territory. Madrid therefore decided to cede Florida to the United States.

Florida became an organized territory of the United States on March 30, The Americans merged East Florida and West Florida although the majority of West Florida was annexed to Territory of Orleans and Mississippi Territory , and established a new capital in Tallahassee , conveniently located halfway between the East Florida capital of St. Augustine and the West Florida capital of Pensacola. The boundaries of Florida's first two counties, Escambia and St. Johns , approximately coincided with the boundaries of West and East Florida respectively.

The free blacks and Indian slaves, Black Seminoles, living near St. Augustine, fled to Havana, Cuba to avoid coming under US control. Some Seminole also abandoned their settlements and moved further south. As settlement increased, pressure grew on the United States government to remove the Indians from their lands in Florida.

Many settlers in Florida developed plantation agriculture, similar to other areas of the Deep South. To the consternation of new landowners, the Seminoles harbored and integrated runaway blacks , and clashes between whites and Indians grew with the influx of new settlers. In , the United States government signed the Treaty of Payne's Landing with some of the Seminole chiefs, promising them lands west of the Mississippi River if they agreed to leave Florida voluntarily. Many Seminoles left then, while those who remained prepared to defend their claims to the land.

White settlers pressured the government to remove all of the Indians, by force if necessary, and in , the U. Army arrived to enforce the treaty. Between and 1, Seminole warriors effectively employed guerrilla tactics against United States Army troops for seven years. Osceola , a charismatic young war leader, came to symbolize the war and the Seminoles after he was arrested by Brigadier General Joseph Marion Hernandez while negotiating under a white truce flag in October , by order of General Thomas Jesup.

First imprisoned at Fort Marion , he died of malaria at Fort Moultrie in South Carolina less than three months after his capture. The war ended in Almost all of the Seminoles were forcibly exiled to Creek lands west of the Mississippi; several hundred remained in the Everglades.

Its first governor was William Dunn Moseley.

The history and beauty of Micanopy, Florida

Almost half the state's population were enslaved African Americans working on large cotton and sugar plantations , between the Apalachicola and Suwannee rivers in the north central part of the state. They were part of the Gullah -Gee Chee culture of the Lowcountry. Others were enslaved African Americans from the Upper South who had been sold to traders taking slaves to the Deep South.

In the s, with the potential transfer of ownership of federal land to the state, including Seminole land, the federal government decided to convince the remaining Seminoles to emigrate. On the eve of the Civil War, Florida had the smallest population of the Southern states. It was invested in plantation agriculture, which was dependent on the labor of enslaved African Americans. Following Abraham Lincoln 's election in , Florida joined other Southern states in seceding from the Union.

Secession took place January 10, , and after less than a month as an independent republic, Florida became one of the founding members of the Confederate States of America. Therefore, Union forces operated a naval blockade around the entire state, and Union troops occupied major ports such as Cedar Key , Jacksonville , Key West , and Pensacola.

During the Reconstruction era that followed the Civil War, moderate Republicans took charge of the state, but they became deeply factionalized and lost public support. Florida was a peripheral region that attracted little outside attention. The state was thinly populated, had relatively few freedmen , had played no great role in the war and saw little violence, and increasingly became a haven for sunshine-hunting Northerners.

The moderate regime plunged into complicated maneuvering and infighting.


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It drafted a conservative constitution. The extended contest between liberals and radicals inside the Republican Party alienated so many voters that the Democrats took power. They rigged elections, disenfranchised Black voters, and made the state a reliable part of the " Solid South ". A state convention was held in to rewrite the constitution. Constitution , Florida was readmitted to the Union on June 25, Southern whites objected to freedmen's political participation and complained of illiterate representatives to the state legislature.

But of the six members who could not read or write during the seven years of Republican rule, four were white. After Federal troops left the South in , conservative white Democrats exercised voter suppression and intimidation, regaining control of the state legislature. This was accomplished partly through violent actions by white paramilitary groups targeting freedmen and their allies to discourage them from voting.

From to , after regaining power, the white-dominated state legislature passed statutes to impose poll taxes and other barriers to voter registration and voting, in order to eliminate voting by blacks and poor whites. These two groups had threatened white Democratic power with a populist coalition. As these groups were stripped from voter rolls, white Democrats established power in a one-party state, as happened across the South. In this period, white violence rose against blacks, particularly in the form of lynchings , which reached a peak around the turn of the century.

The Great Freeze of ruined citrus crops, which had a detrimental ripple effect on the economy of Central Florida in particular. By the state's African Americans numbered more than ,, roughly 44 percent of the total population. This was the same proportion as before the Civil War, and they were effectively disenfranchised. They also were not recruited for law enforcement or other government positions. After the end of Reconstruction, the Florida legislature passed Jim Crow laws establishing racial segregation in public facilities and transportation.

Separate railroad cars or sections of cars for different races were required beginning in Without political representation, African Americans found that their facilities were underfunded and they were pushed into a second-class position. For more than six decades, white Democrats controlled virtually all the state's seats in Congress, which were apportioned based on the total population of the state rather than only the whites who voted.

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In , Florida was largely agricultural and frontier; most Floridians lived within 50 miles of the Georgia border. The population grew from , in to The population explosion began with the great land boom of the s as Florida became a destination for vacationers and a southern land speculator's paradise.

People from throughout the Southeast migrated to Florida during this time, creating a larger southern culture in the central part of the state, and expanding the existing one in the northern region. By , Florida had the highest rate of lynchings per capita, [60] although the overall total had declined.

Violence of whites against blacks continued into the post-World War II period, and there were lynchings and riots in several small towns in the early s. Florida had the only recorded lynching in , in October after the war's end, when a black man was killed after being falsely accused of assaulting a girl. In the s, many developers invested in land in the southern part of the State in areas such as Miami, and Palm Beach attracting more people in the Southern States. When the Crash came in , prices of houses plunged, but the sunshine remained. Hurt badly by the Great Depression and the land bust, Florida, along with many other States, kept afloat with federal relief money under the Franklin D.

Roosevelt Administration. Florida's economy did not fully recover until well into the buildup for World War II. The climate, tempered by the growing availability of air conditioning , and low cost of living, made the state a haven. In , at the closing of the War, many people from the Northeast and the Rust Belt migrated to the Central and Southern parts of Florida. In recent decades, more migrants have come for the jobs in a developing economy.

After World War I, there was a rise in lynchings and other racial violence directed by whites against blacks in the state, as well as across the South, and in major cities such as Chicago and Washington. It was due in part from strains of rapid social and economic changes, as well as competition for jobs, and lingering resentment resulting from the Reconstruction after the Civil War, as well as tensions among both black and white populations created by the return of black veterans. Whites continued to resort to lynchings to keep dominance, and tensions rose.

Florida led the South and the nation in lynchings per capita from — The governor appointed a special grand jury and special prosecuting attorney to investigate Rosewood and Levy County , but the jury did not find sufficient evidence to prosecute. Rosewood was never resettled. To escape segregation, lynchings, and civil rights suppression, 40, African Americans migrated from Florida to northern cities in the Great Migration from — That was one-fifth of their population in They sought better lives, including decent-paying jobs, better education for their children, and the chance to vote and participate in political life.

Many were recruited for jobs with the Pennsylvania Railroad. The s were a prosperous time for much of the nation, including Florida. The state's new railroads opened up large areas to development, spurring the Florida land boom of the s. Investors of all kinds, many from outside Florida, raced to buy and sell rapidly appreciating land in newly platted communities such as Miami and Palm Beach. Led by entrepreneurs Carl Fisher and George Merrick , Miami was transformed by land speculation and ambitious building projects into an emerging metropolis.