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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.
The geographical area of Florida diminished with the establishment of English settlements to the north and French claims to the west. Augustine, burning the city and its cathedral to the ground several times.
Spain built the Castillo de San Marcos in 1672 and Fort Matanzas in 1742 to defend Florida's capital city from attacks, and to maintain its strategic position in the defense of the Captaincy General of Cuba and the Spanish West Indies.
Today, Florida is distinctive for its large Cuban expatriate community and high population growth, as well as for its increasing environmental issues.
The state's economy relies mainly on tourism, agriculture, and transportation, which developed in the late 19th century.
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.
Florida was the first region of the continental United States to be visited and settled by Europeans.This would be the first permanent English-speaking population in what is now Duval County, Baker County, St. The British built good public roads and introduced the cultivation of sugar cane, indigo and fruits as well the export of lumber.