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The story of Florida, the 27th state of the Union, has been characterized by continuous growth. Named La Florida by Juan Ponce de Leon, the Sunshine State changed hands numerous times as various explorers who saw the natural beauty of the region decided to claim it for themselves. Prior to the 16th century, an estimated 350,000 Native Americans lived in this unsettled region. European explorers later introduced diseases that greatly reduced the Native American population. Florida was made a Spanish colony, changed ownership to Great Britain, and then went back under Spanish control with the Treaty of Paris in 1783. In 1810, Floridians declared their independence from Spain. Sensing a prime opportunity, President James Madison and Congress claimed the region as part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. The United States took formal possession of Florida in 1821, and the state was admitted to the Union in 1845. Read the fascinating history in ""The Acquisition of Florida"".
Chelsea House Publishers
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