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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.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).Florida was the first region of the continental United States to be visited and settled by Europeans.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 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.Neither East Florida nor West Florida would send any representatives to Philadelphia to draft the Declaration of Independence. Americans of English descent and Americans of Scots-Irish descent began moving into northern Florida from the backwoods of Georgia and South Carolina.Florida would remain a Loyalist stronghold for the duration of the American Revolution. Though technically not allowed by the Spanish authorities and the Floridan government, they were never able to effectively police the border region and the backwoods settlers from the United States would continue to immigrate into Florida unchecked.
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.Florida is the 22nd-most extensive, the 3rd-most populous, and the 8th-most densely populated 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.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.
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 the oldest European settlement in the continental U. and establishing the first generation of Floridanos and the government of Florida.