Florida has had many frontiers. Imagination, greed, missionary zeal, disease, war, and diplomacy have shaped its historical boundaries. Bodies of water, soils and their associated floral and faunal ecology, the patterns of Native American occupation, and ways of colonising have defined where the various old and new world peoples who have invaded Florida since 1500 settled, and the degree to which each prospered as each built its own frontier upon the remains of its predecessors' efforts. A History of Florida's Frontiers tells the story of those frontiers and how the land and the people shaped them during the three centuries from 1565 to 1860.Settlers to La Florida, the American Southeast ca. 1500, found the better natural and human resources on the piedmont or on the western side of Florida's central ridge, while the coasts and coastal plains proved far less inviting. But natural environment was only one important factor in the settlement of Florida. This book also examines how the Spaniards, the British, the Seminole and Miccosuki, the Spaniards once again, and finally Americans constructed their Florida frontiers in interaction with the Native Americans who were present, the vestiges of earlier frontiers, and international events. Paul E. Hoffman takes the near-completion of the range and township surveys by 1860 and of the deportation of most of the Seminole and Miccosuki as marking the end of the Florida frontier, though frontier-like conditions persisted in many parts of the state into the early twentieth century.The book draws from a broad range of secondary works and from the author's research in Spanish archival sources of the sixteenth and seventeenth century.
Paul E. Hoffman is Professor of History at Louisiana State University and author of several books including the prize-winning A New Andalucia and a Way to the Orient: The American Southeast during the Sixteenth Century. He is honored by LSU with appointment as the Paul W. and Nancy W. Murrill Distinguished Professor.