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FLORIDA THEMES : MILITARY HISTORY

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.

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