Florida History

Chuck Coker via Flickr

From the fountain of youth to the Skunk Ape, Florida’s folklore is rich and sometimes pungent.  Few know that better than Dr. Caren Neile- a professional storyteller and the Director of the South Florida Storytelling Project.

She’ll share some of Florida’s memorable tales this week at the Marco Island Historical Society, and in advance of that performance, we’ll have a sneak preview on Gulf Coast Live.

Photos: State Library & Archives of Florida

What motivated early Floridians to move into the swampy, mosquito-infested area of South Florida? How did the Seminoles and other Native American peoples thrive in such a demanding environment? Questions from Curious Gulf Coast listeners spurred a look at life in Florida before modern conveniences.

Images: State Archives of Florida

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau through 2016 shows Florida continues to grow: nearly 2 million new people arrived in the state since 2010, a nearly 10 percent boost. In the last year alone, more than 340,000 new Floridians flocked to the state. Historians are asking what Florida could lose as that growth continues, and how to best preserve state history amid a seemingly endless boom.

Photo: Wikimedia Creative Commons

Meeting in some form since 1962, the Florida Conference of Historians covers all historical fields and gives historians in and of the Sunshine State the opportunity to share their scholarship and new developments in the field.

A federally-recognized non-profit, the group now includes more than thirty colleges, universities, and other institutions. This year's 57th annual conference is being hosted by Florida Southwestern State College and meeting in Punta Gorda this weekend, and is free and open to the public.

Photo: Great Florida Cattle Drive

Florida's cattle culture dates back nearly 500 years, from the first cattle unloaded by Spanish sailors near present-day Port Charlotte, to the cattle-driving "cow hunters" of the 19th century, to the modern-day industry that tops more than 1  billion head of cattle in the state and boasts one of the largest commercial cattle herds in the country.

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