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It was a principal location of the Seminole Wars against the Native Americans, and racial segregation after the American Civil War.Today, Florida is distinctive for its large Cuban expatriate community and high population growth, as well as for its increasing environmental issues.Florida is a reflection of influences and multiple inheritance; African, European, indigenous, and Latino heritages can be found in the architecture and cuisine.
Florida has the longest coastline in the contiguous United States, approximately 1,350 miles (2,170 km), not including the contribution of the many barrier islands. The climate varies from subtropical in the north to tropical in the south.The earliest known European explorers came with the Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León.Ponce de León spotted and landed on the peninsula on April 2, 1513. In May 1539, Conquistador Hernando de Soto skirted the coast of Florida, searching for a deep harbor to land.Augustine, a fortified town for escaped slaves to whom Montiano granted citizenship and freedom in return for their service in the Florida militia, and which became the first free black settlement legally sanctioned in North America.In 1763, Spain traded Florida to the Kingdom of Great Britain for control of Havana, Cuba, which had been captured by the British during the Seven Years' War.