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Juan Ponce de Leon commenced the European invasion of La Florida in 1513. Spanish explorers attempted several unsuccessful expeditions through the Sixteenth Century. A French toehold founded in 1564 met Spanish resistance, leading to the founding of St. Augustine in 1565. Franciscan missions met some success converting native peoples, and resulted in key documents that provide a glimpse into indigenous cultures that have since been erased. Claims to La Florida changed after the Seven Years War (1763), American War for Independence (1783), and the US invasion of 1818-19. Florida entered the union as a state in 1821.

Long considered a borderland, La Florida yielded a rich literature, composed of both utilitarian and belletristic writings. This website is an ongoing, student-driven project that provides a summary view and verbal archive of a contested region. “Visions of Early Florida” provides a gateway for those seeking to explore the region’s rich literary history in greater depth. Readers who seek to learn more about the selections are encouraged to follow the suggested readings on each page. For more information about the project, including a justification, see Thomas Hallock, “Think Globally, Dig Locally: Pedagogy and the Archive in Early Florida Literature,” (Camino Real 2:3 [2010]).

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