VIVA LA FLORIDA

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Happy 500 anniversary for the state of Florida. A hard fought effort to showcase its history is finally receiving it's day in the sunshine. However, two coastal cities are competing for the same bragging rights to the legacy of Juan Ponce de Leon.

On April 2, 1513, Spanish conquistador De Leon became the first European of record to discover this lovely subtropical peninsula, which he then named La Florida.

500 years later, in the absence of exact documents indicating where Ponce de Leon actually landed, St. Augustine http://www.staugbch.com/ and Melbourne Beach http://www.melbournebeachfl.org are both celebrating this historical milestone by sponsoring separate festivities roughly 125 miles apart from one another.

In 1513, Ponce de León, seeking the mythical “Fountain of Youth,” discovered and named Florida, claiming it for Spain. Later, Florida would be held at different times by Spain and England until Spain finally sold it to the United States in 1819.

Florida's history in the early 19th century was marked by wars with the Seminole Indians, which did not end until 1842.

Florida's economy mostly rests on tourism, manufacturing, and agriculture. Leading the manufacturing sector are electrical equipment and electronics, printing and publishing, transportation equipment, food processing, and machinery. Oranges, grapefruit, and other citrus fruits lead Florida's agricultural products list, followed by potatoes, melons, strawberries, sugar cane, peanuts, dairy products, and cattle.

Major tourist attractions are Miami Beach, Palm Beach, Orlando and St. Augustine founded in 1565, thus the oldest permanent city in USA.

http://www.dos.state.fl.us/