Thursday, November 12, 2015

Florida History

Gretchen and I are learning about Florida history this year.  I taught the older girls Florida History probably about 8 or 9 years ago and we had fun visiting different historic areas and such.  This time, I am doing a class at our co-op, so Gretchen is able to do many of the field trips with her friends.

We started out learning about the first inhabitants of Florida and focused on the Timucuans as they were in our area.  A field trip to Fort Caroline allowed us to see what one of their huts looked like.  We got a better look at a Timucuan village when we visited the Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine.

We then moved on to learning about the Spanish and French explorers who came to explore the land. We learned about Ponce DeLeon who claimed Florida first and then Jean Ribault who led the French to establish a foothold here in the Jacksonville area.  Pedro Melendez came along and got rid of the French at Matanzas.  Let's just say the name means slaughter in Spanish. Then came the British for about 20 years and then Florida returned to Spain.  We enjoyed visits to Fort Caroline, Fountain of Youth and Colonial Quarters in St. Augustine to see some of this history.

Then we covered the indian tribe most known in Florida but not one of the originals - the Seminoles.  The Seminoles were actually Creek and other Indian tribes who were pushed into Florida and banded together forming the Seminoles in the early 1700's.  They were also joined by runaway slaves.  3 wars were fought to try and remove them from Florida but in the end, success was not achieved as they still have a presence here and are able to say they are the only tribe in America to not surrender.  Some of the students gave presentations about different areas of Seminole lives.  Gretchen talked about the clans.

We are now up to the time when Florida became a state and was part of the Civil War.  As part of learning that, we took a trip to Kingsley Plantation in north Jacksonville to learn a little of what slavery was like here in Florida.  We found it to be very interesting and Gretchen enjoyed learning more about the family she read about in Treasure of Amelia Island  I found the sea cotton to be very interesting.  It produces some beautiful flowers.  Hmm, wonder if I could grow any here?

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