Spanish Florida c. 1660

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Map Code: Ax00661

The Spanish explorer and conquistador, Juan Ponce de Léon, landed in Florida in 1513, claiming it for Spain. Successive expeditions by De Narvaez (1528–29) and De Soto (1539–42) ranged as far as modern day Texas and Oklahoma, but the first lasting settlement was established at St Augustine in 1565. Clusters of settlements were established around St Augustine and the Panhandle (Middle Creek). Coupled with wide ranging Jesuit missionary activity, the colonies came into conflict with native populations, facing uprisings from the Apache (1647), and Timucua in 1656. In addition, settlements in the Carolinas lay in territory awarded to the British colony by Royal Charter in 1663, while the French were beginning to explore along the Gulf Coast and Mississippi, establishing Fort Mobile on territory claimed by Spain in 1702. Florida was regarded of little economic value by the Spanish, its primary function being to act as a buffer zone for its colonial empire to the south.

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