Florida’s 500-year (Almost) Cattle History

Historians generally agree that Florida – and United States – cattle ranching got its start with Ponce de Leon in 1521. The Spanish explorer and conquistador brought horses and seven Andalusian cattle to Florida that year, according to a University of South Florida website, Florida Center for Instructional Technology (FCIT). Some scholars believe those first…

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Crackers and the Open Range – Part of Florida’s Cattle History

CRACKERS Most Floridians who’ve been around a while have heard people refer to “crackers,” a term that most agree described Florida’s early cattlemen. “Florida’s old-time cowboys had a unique way of herding cattle,” reports the University of South Florida website, Florida Center for Instructional Technology (FCIT). “They used 10- to 12-foot-long whips made of braided…

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1920’s Land Boom and Bust

Florida’s Land Boom of the 1920s Turning $1,700 into $300,000, at Least for a While An elderly man in Pinellas County spent his life savings of $1,700 in the early 1920s on a piece of local property. He was just one of thousands of Americans participating in the great Florida land boom. But his story…

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New Smyrna Beach: Greek Name, but Settled by Minorcans

New Smyrna Beach on Florida’s northeast coast today draws tourists and water sports enthusiasts to the Atlantic Ocean south of the more populous and hectic Daytona Beach area. The paradoxically named city got its start as a British agricultural colony approximately two-and-a-half centuries ago. Soon after taking control of Florida from Spain in 1863, the…

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The Appalachians in Florida?

Much of the sand in the Sunshine State’s major geographic regions originated elsewhere. The Appalachian Mountains extend from Alabama to New York; no part of the range is in Florida. But much of the Appalachian’s sediment is in the Sunshine State, according to the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF-IFAS) website,…

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