Fortresses on Sand: The History of Florida – 6 episodes

Ever heard “Florida has no history”? Dr. Sam wants you to know how incorrect that common perception actually is…

We examine how after European powers learned of the ‘New World’ and began to scramble to claim the islands of the Caribbean for themselves, they soon turned to Florida as the first beach-head in the exploration & conquest of the North American mainland itself, a hundred years before the colonizing of Virginia, New York or New England, all of which set off a centuries-long struggle to control the tropical peninsula, as it passed back and forth between Spanish, French, and English – and eventually American – control.

A bewildering array of people lived or settled in Florida over the generations, from Seminole warriors to early European conquerors and indentured workers, to Scottish speculators, to “Cracker” cattle-herders, to Jewish utopians, to slave-driving planters, to evangelical missionaries, and in the last century to messianic cult leaders, women’s suffragists, Cuban revolutionaries, bohemian poets and many more…each adding their own layer to the rich history of the area, and who’s conflicts with each other have led to winners and losers in ongoing battles on who gets to live where, and in the power structures we see in the state today.

Dr. Sam then explores how with 20th century innovations like DDT, orange-juice concentrate, and air conditioning, the population and economy of Florida grew at an unimaginable pace, leading to new collisions in use of the land, epitomized by some of the surreptitious amassing of farms in the creation of Disney world.

First, however, in Part 1, Dr. Sam begins with an examination of what we know of what came before European contact, with an exploration of the Native Peoples who we know lived on the peninsula for many thousands of years, and who’s settlements and cities are evident in landscape today, much it uncovered the construction boom of the 20th century, before eventually confronting the first European invaders…

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Ever heard that Florida has no history? Dr. Sam wants you to know how incorrect that common perception actually is…
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