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The Spanish encouraged slaves from the southern British colonies to come to Florida as a refuge, promising freedom in exchange for conversion to Catholicism.King Charles II of Spain issued a royal proclamation freeing all slaves who fled to Spanish Florida and accepted conversion and baptism. Augustine, but escaped slaves also reached Pensacola. Augustine had mustered an all-black militia unit defending Spain as early as 1683.

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Florida has attracted many writers such as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams, and continues to attract celebrities and athletes.

It is internationally known for golf, tennis, auto racing and water sports.

By the 16th century, the earliest time for which there is a historical record, major Native American groups included the Apalachee of the Florida Panhandle, the Timucua of northern and central Florida, the Ais of the central Atlantic coast, the Tocobaga of the Tampa Bay area, the Calusa of southwest Florida and the Tequesta of the southeastern coast.

Florida was the first region of the continental United States to be visited and settled by Europeans.

Much of the state is at or near sea level and is characterized by sedimentary soil. Along with Hawaii, Florida is one of only two states that has a tropical climate, and is the only continental U. 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.

He described seeing a thick wall of red mangroves spread mile after mile, some reaching as high as 70 feet (21 m), with intertwined and elevated roots making landing difficult.

Spain established several settlements in Florida, with varying degrees of success.

The state's economy relies mainly on tourism, agriculture, and transportation, which developed in the late 19th century.

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