Dr. Jerald T. Milanich is Curator Emeritus of Archaeology at the Florida Museum of Natural History, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the University of Florida, and one of the most respected historical archaeologists in the state.
In this book, Handfuls of History: Stories About Florida’s Past, Dr. Milanich discusses pre-Columbian Florida, Colonial Period people and events, and the nineteenth century shipwreck of the steamship City of Vera Cruz.
On August 15, 1559, Spanish conquistador Don Tristan de Luna sailed into what is now Pensacola Bay, leading a fleet of twelve ships with 1,500 colonists on board. Their effort to establish a permanent settlement was thwarted by a violent hurricane, which devastated the fleet.
One of the shipwrecks was discovered by underwater archaeologists in 1992, and another in 2006, but until recently, the terrestrial site of the attempted Luna settlement remained a mystery.
In 1738, the first legally sanctioned free black settlement was established in what would become the United States.
El Pueblo de Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose, popularly known as Fort Mose, was a community of former slaves who pledged allegiance to the King of Spain, became Catholic, and agreed to defend Spanish controlled Florida from invaders.
Located just north of St. Augustine, Fort Mose was the first line of defense against attack from British colonies.
William Bartram fought alligators, befriended Seminoles, and meticulously documented the flora and fauna of eighteenth century Florida.
His book “Travels through North and South Carolina, East and West Florida, the Cherokee Country, the Extensive Territories of the Muscogulges, or Creek Confederacy, and the Country of the Chactaws, Containing an Account of the Soil and Natural Productions of Those Regions, Together with Observations on the Manners of the Indians,” known today as “Bartram’s Travels,” is a classic work of Florida literature.
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