America’s Tourist Trap



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This map shows the results of the Transcontine...
This map shows the results of the Transcontinental Treaty, which ended the border conflict between Spain and the United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have grown up going to Florida every year since I was 8 months old. Throughout my life I have seen the change in the cultures around Florida. Throughout my lifetime, I have seen many different cultures throughout Florida. From the tourist areas of Orlando, the retirement homes of Saint Petersburg, the Hispanic, Cuban, and African American populations of Miami, and the conservative working class population of Jacksonville. In its short history as one of the United States, Florida has become not only a highly touristic place, but also a place where many people are beginning to live there and retire.

This funny map shows the “demographics” of Florida. The ‘rednecks” of Jacksonville, The “tourist trap” of Orlando, and “the interests that divide old people from the people who make their orange juice and fix their jaguars” in Miami.

In the early years of the country, Florida was in the hands of Spain. In 1565 Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Aviles, founded the first settlement in St. Augustine. In 1819 Florida became a US territory with the signing of the Adams Onis Treaty. This was under the presidency of James Monroe and with the help of later President and current Secretary of State John Quincy Adams. Throughout the early history of Florida, it had changed hands between many of the European powers. This shows throughout the culture of Florida today. With Florida also being so close to Cuba, there are a lot of Cuban influences in southern Florida as well.

The Castillo de San Marcos in St. Agustine Florida. Florida was discovered by Spanish explorer and Puerto Rican Governor Ponce de Leon on Easter Sunday 1513. The spanish were looking for silver and gold.
The Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine Florida. Florida was discovered by Spanish explorer and Puerto Rican Governor Ponce de Leon on Easter Sunday 1513. The Spanish were looking for silver and gold.


With the signing of the Treaty of Paris, England gained control of Florida from Spain in 1763. But when the Americans won the revolution in 1783, Florida was returned to Spain. During this time there were no set boundaries for the state and many settlers began to settle in Florida. This was the start of the First Seminole War. This war was between US settlers, Spanish citizens, British agents, and the Creek Native. The war ended with Andrew Jackson burning native villages, hanging two British subjects, and the capture of two cities. After the war, Spain finally signed over Florida and created a new boundary line in the Adams-Onis treaty, which was negotiated by John Quincy Adams in 1819.

When Florida became a territory of the US, it was settled by many people. By 1845 Florida finally became a state on March 3rd. In the election of 1860, no Floridian voted for Abraham Lincoln in fear that he would end slavery and the South would succeed. When he was elected president, Florida was the third state to succeed from the Union on January 10, 1861. No battles of the civil war were fought on Florida lands, but troops were stationed around the coast and border of he state. After the war, Florida was readmitted to the Union on June 25, 1868.

While it attracted the Spanish on their first “tour of America” in the 1500s – they did not stay.  It was not until the 20th century construction of railways, highways, and airports that Florida quickly became “America’s tourist trap”.