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Florida attracted numerous Africans and African Americans from adjacent British colonies who sought freedom from slavery.In 1738, Governor Manuel de Montiano established Fort Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose near St.

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.

Spain maintained strategic control over the region by converting the local tribes to Christianity.

The earliest known European explorers came with the Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León.

Ponce de León spotted and landed on the peninsula on April 2, 1513. In May 1539, Conquistador Hernando de Soto skirted the coast of Florida, searching for a deep harbor to land.

Florida is home to 51 of the world's billionaires with most of them residing in South Florida.

Florida was a challenge for the European colonial powers before it gained statehood in the United States in 1845.The state's economy relies mainly on tourism, agriculture, and transportation, which developed in the late 19th century.Florida is also renowned for amusement parks, orange crops, winter vegetables, the Kennedy Space Center, and as a popular destination for retirees.Augustine, a fortified town for escaped slaves to whom Montiano granted citizenship and freedom in return for their service in the Florida militia, and which became the first free black settlement legally sanctioned in North America.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.) is the southernmost contiguous state in the United States.

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