5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Florida

On April 2, 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon landed on the coast of Florida and claimed the territory for the Spanish crown. Find out five things you probably didn’t know about the state of Florida.

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Juan Ponce De Leon Named Florida Ponce de Leon sailed from Puerto Rico to what is now the area of St. Augustine, Florida, in 1513. Although other European navigators may have sighted the Florida peninsula before, Ponce de León is credited with the first recorded landing and the first detailed exploration of the Florida coast. The Spanish explorer was searching for the “Fountain of Youth,” a fabled water source that was said to bring eternal youth. Ponce de León named the peninsula he believed to be an island “La Florida” because his discovery came during the time of the Easter feast, or Pascua Florida.

It's The Only Place On Earth Where Crocodiles And Alligators Coexist The Florida Everglades is famous for many things, one of them being the only environment on earth in which Alligators and Crocodiles coexist in harmony. You are very likely to run into these reptiles during an Everglades airboat tour. To distinguish the two, alligators have a more U-shaped snout, are a darker, blackish-grey in color, and prefer fresh water  while crocodiles have a more pointed or V-shaped snout, are a lighter, olive green or brown color, and tend to prefer saltwater or brackish water, which is a combination of saltwater and freshwater.

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The Florida Keys Seceded From The United States In 1982, Dennis Wardlow, the mayor of Key West, declared war against the United States because of a roadblock by the Border Patrol in Florida City, the mainland gateway to the island chain. The tongue-in-cheek secession renamed the area the Conch Republic with Wardlow as its prime minister. The campaign was short-lived; within two minutes, Wardlow had surrendered and requested $1 million in foreign aid.

Children in Childcare Centers Must Listen To Classical Music Every Day Florida Law requires day cares to play at least 30 minutes of classical music every day.  In 1998, Florida passed the Beethoven’s Babies Bill which is based on a study of the “Mozart Effect”- the belief that classical music encourages a child’s intellect. Studies have linked classical music to enhanced brain development among infants and toddlers.

St. Augustine Is The Oldest City In The USA Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers, St. Augustine is the oldest continuously-inhabited European-established settlement in the United States – and is more commonly called the "Nation’s Oldest City." St. Augustine was founded by Spanish admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, Florida's first governor. He named the settlement "San Agustín", as his ships bearing settlers, troops, and supplies from Spain had first sighted land in Florida eleven days earlier on August 28, the feast day of St. Augustine. The city served as the capital of Spanish Florida for over 200 years.