Military history has played a
very strong role in the evolution of Florida society and
culture. The early history of Florida is a military history
of conquest as the land was captured by Spain who saw numerous
attempts by France and England to attack and capture Spanish
East and West Florida. English control of Florida ceased
with the Siege of Pensacola in 1781, a Revolutionary War
battle that gave Florida back to Spain. Invasions of American
volunteer armies under Andrew Jackson in 1813 and 1818,
fighting Creek and Seminole uprisings, led to the annexation
of Florida to the United States.
To protect the new Territory, a string of military forts and
bases were established throughout Florida to protect the coastlines
and cities. As part of the Confederate States of America,
Florida saw her share of military battles and occupations
as port cities like Key West, Pensacola, and others became
important points on the Union blockade of the South.
Following the Civil War, Florida became a major training
and embarkation point for the War with Cuba in 1898, and
the site for major military training bases after World
War I. Naval aviation brought the need for good weather
training sites in the 1920s including the development of
Naval Aeronautical Stations in Pensacola, and naval bases
in Jacksonville, Tampa, Key West, and other locations.
Eglin Air Force Base, the largest air force base in the
world in size, was created to provide weapons and armament
training for World War II and continual support services
into the 21st century.
As is the case with the histories of many other states
and countries around the world, military efforts pave the
way for the rest of society's development, and while these
actions may be considered unnecessary or brutal by some,
no one can deny the influence of military history on the
growth and development of Florida and it's people. The
Florida Hertiage Collection presents works on the many
wars and battles in Florida's history, including the Mexican
War, wars and skermishes with the original Native American
population, wars with the British, Spanish, and more. A
close study of this section of the collection will provide
an interesting view of Florida's early development.