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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 1559, Don Tristán de Luna y Arellano established a settlement at present-day Pensacola, making it the first attempted settlement in Florida, but it was mostly abandoned by 1561. Augustine (San Agustín) was established under the leadership of admiral and governor Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, creating what would become the oldest European settlement in the continental U. and establishing the first generation of Floridanos and the government of Florida.

Spain maintained tenuous control over the region by converting the local tribes to Christianity.

Florida attracted numerous Africans and African-Americans from adjacent British colonies who sought freedom from slavery.

In 1738, Governor Manuel de Montiano established Fort Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose near St.

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

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 part of the continental United States to be visited and settled by Europeans.

Florida is also renowned for amusement parks, orange crops, the Kennedy Space Center, and as a popular destination for retirees.

Florida culture is a reflection of influences and multiple inheritance; African, European, indigenous, and Latino heritages can be found in the architecture and cuisine.