Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Thursday, January 3, 2019

The Hidden History of Florida by James Clark - 2015

Hidden History of Florida by James C. Clark

Hidden History of Florida by James C. Clark is a perfect pick if you want learn a lot in a short time about the history of Florida.  This is a book anyone interested in Florida will enjoy.  Clark fashions  the history into a fascinating narrative with numerous interesting “human interest” interludes detailing among other things why Saint Petersburg was named after a city in Russia, how a once impoverished tribe of Native Americans, the Seminoles, became rich enough to write a check for a billion dollars to buy the Hard Rock Cafe Chain after fighting three wars with the American Army, and much more.  I will, based on the book, do a Florida timeline.


8000 BC - First Native American settlement, near Sarasota

1000 AD - there are nine distinct tribes 

1500 - estimated population of the state was 375,000- 150,000 speak Timuca

April 2, 1513 - Ponce de Leon lands somewhere between Melbourne and Jacksonville.  In time the  indigenous population will be reduced to near zero, from disease and warfare. Clark's  goes into a lot of detail about the fate of the Indians

1521 - first colony

1579 - The cultivation of oranges, introduced from Spain begins.  By 1835 millions of oranges were being shipped north and to Europe, for the next hundred years oranges, cattle and timber were the major sources of cash

1624 - First African American born, in St. Augustine

1763 to 1765- England Owns west Florida panhandle area

1808 - importation of slaves into USA is banned, a very large trade in slaves smuggled in from Cuba begins 

1821 - USA acquired Florida from Spain.  Clark  goes into detail about the various international claims by the French and British to parts of Florida.

1822 - Tallahassee is chosen as the state capital, being half way between the then major population centers of St. Augustine and Pensacola

1835 Second Seminole War begins, by 1842 most Seminoles were shipped west but some escaped into the Everglades.  Allan explains the make up of the Seminoles, largely not Native originally to Florida but a mixture of Creeks and escaped slaves.

March 3, 1845 - Florida becomes a state, slavery is legal.  Clark helped me understand issues involved in bringing Florida into The Union as a slave state 

1859 - by the end of the third Seminole War the around four hundred survivors retreat to the Everglades

Population of Florida 1861. - 154,494 - 92,741 Free, 61,753 slaves

Clark goes into enough detail about the civil war to help me understand the role of Florida in the war

January 10, 1861 Florida suceeds from The Union.  Per capita, Florida sent The most men into war, 15000.  It was then least populated southern state.

After the war, very harsh laws, called Jim Crow laws, were passed designed to keep exslaves in near bondage

Clark writes a lot about different Florida governors and senators, the good, the bad and in-between

1898 - lead by Theodore Roosevelt, based in Florida, the Rough Riders invade Cuba as part of the Spainish American war.  Through this the USA acquired the Philippines and took a place as a world class international power.  This helped him become president just as Zachary Taylor's role in the Seminole Wars did for Taylor.

1914 - World War One begins

January 3, 1921 - my Mother was born in Highsprings Florida, then population 1795. 

Population of Florida 1921 - 997,000
Population of Texas 4.8 Million
Population of California 3.75 million

After the war ends, the tourist trade develops rapidly.  Allan explains how this was tied in with the building of rail roads down the east coast to Miami.  Air conditioning also helped make the state more attractive to northern immigrants

Cattle ranching greatly increases as does large scale agriculture interests including sugar in the Everglades area

1941 to 1945 world war two.  

1950- Population 2.75 million 

October 1, 1971 - Disney World opens near Orlando and becomes world's greatest tourist attraction.

Clark has well done chapters on the explosive growth of Florida's population and the role it played in national politics

He even included cool chapter on Florida's first tourist attraction, featured on the book cover, 

Currently the population of Florida is around 21 Million.

This post is in recognition of the 98th anniversary of the birth of my mother, the finest of all Floridians.

I learned a lot from The Hidden History of Florida.  It would be a very good book  for classes in Florida history.  Read this book and you will know much more about Florida history than 99.5 percent of the residents.

James C. Clark is a lecturer at the University of 95, where he has taught since 1987. He earned his doctorate in Florida history from the University of Florida. He is considered one of Florida’s leading historians and is the author of twelve books, including Florida: A Concise History. His work has been honored by the Florida Historical Society, the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors and the Florida Magazine Association. He lives in Orlando, Florida.

Mel u


Suko said...

Very interesting, Mel. My knowledge of the history of Florida has greatly improved due to your post. This sounds like a valuable resource book about Florida. Thank you for this post and timeline!

Sharon Wilfong said...

Very interesting. I have always had an interest in Florida since I spent half my childhood there and visit multiple times each year because my parents still live on the panhandle. Convenient that they are a ten minute drive from Destin. :)

I think I am going to have to look up this book.

Really like your blog by the way. Found you through R.T.

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