How Florida Became a State

Florida has a long and varied history, from its first inhabitants to its current status as a state in the United States.


Spanish colonization

The Spanish were the first to colonize Florida, beginning in the early 1500s. The Spanish were drawn to the area for its rich resources, including timber, fish, and the potential for agricultural production. The Spanish established several settlements in the area, including St. Augustine, which is the oldest continuously inhabited European-established settlement in the continental United States. The Spanish also brought Catholicism to the area, and many of the Catholic churches that still exist in Florida today were built during this period. The Spanish also introduced new crops, such as citrus fruits, to the area. The Spanish also brought African slaves to the area, and many of their descendants still live in Florida today.

British rule

In 1763, the British gained control of Florida from the Spanish as part of the Treaty of Paris. The British were interested in the area for its strategic location and potential for trade. The British also sought to expand their control of the area by establishing new settlements and encouraging immigration. The British also sought to suppress the Seminole Indians, who had been living in the area for centuries. The British also brought new crops to the area, such as sugarcane, and encouraged the development of the cattle industry. The British also brought new laws and regulations to the area, including the establishment of a court system. The British period of control ended in 1783 when Spain regained control of the area.

Florida Territory

Establishment of the Florida Territory

The establishment of the Florida Territory was a long and complicated process. In 1819, the United States and Spain signed the Adams-Onis Treaty, which ceded Florida to the United States. This treaty was ratified by the United States Senate in 1821. The United States Congress then passed the Florida Enabling Act in 1822, which allowed the people of Florida to form a territorial government. The act also provided for the appointment of a governor and three judges to form a territorial court.

Territorial government

In 1822, William Pope Duval was appointed as the first territorial governor of Florida. He was tasked with establishing a territorial government and organizing elections for a legislature. The first territorial legislature was elected in 1823 and met in Pensacola. The legislature was responsible for passing laws and setting up a judicial system. They also established a system of taxation and created a public school system. The legislature also passed a bill in 1825 that allowed for the creation of a state constitution. This constitution was ratified by the people of Florida in 1838, and Florida officially became a state.


Constitutional Convention

The Constitutional Convention of 1838 was held in St. Joseph, Florida, to create a state constitution. The convention was attended by delegates from each of the Florida counties, who discussed the issues of slavery, taxation, and representation. After much debate, the delegates agreed to a document that would become the basis for the state's constitution. The convention also established the state's name, boundaries, and government structure.

The convention also addressed the issue of slavery, which was a major point of contention. The delegates ultimately decided to allow slavery in the state, though the issue was not fully resolved until the Civil War. The convention also established the state's taxation system, which would be based on property values. Finally, the delegates agreed on the number of representatives each county would have in the state legislature.

Admission to the Union

Once the Constitutional Convention had concluded, the delegates submitted the state constitution to the United States Congress for approval. After much debate, Congress approved the constitution and Florida was admitted to the Union as the 27th state on March 3, 1845.

The admission of Florida to the Union was a significant moment in American history. It was the first state to be admitted to the Union after the Mexican-American War, and it was the first state to be admitted to the Union from the former Spanish colonies. This marked the beginning of a new era in American history, as the United States began to expand its borders and influence.

The admission of Florida to the Union also had a significant impact on the state itself. It allowed the state to begin to develop its own economy and infrastructure, and it allowed the state to become a major player in the American political system. The admission of Florida to the Union was a major milestone in the state's history, and it has continued to shape the state's development and identity to this day.

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