Page 22 - Senior Scene April 2018
P. 22

Before Florida Became A State
Senior Scene® | April Issue
By South Brevard Historical Society
Florida, as a landmass, has been under the ocean’s sur- face for most of geological history. Geologists theorize that the Florida peninsula has been under or above the ocean surface at least four times in the past, as glaciers in the north expanded and melted. In fact, at one time in the distance past, the peninsula was submerged and part of North Amer- ica’s continental shelf. Alternately, during the last ice age, the sea level was about 400 feet lower than today. As a re- sult, if you’re reading this in Melbourne, you would have had to travel east over 50 miles to reach the Atlantic Ocean. If you were living where Tampa is now, you would have to trav- el over 100 miles to reach the Gulf of Mexico.
About 20,000 years ago, the sea level began to rise as glaciers melted. The sea level stabilized to about what we see today around 4,000 - 5,000 years ago. When the “ rst Floridians” arrived approximately 14,000 years ago, the land was already supporting a large number and variety of plants and animals,
On Saturday, April 14th, the South Brevard Historical Society program will feature a presentation titled “Florida Before Statehood” by local historian Ben DiBiase, director of educational resources for the Florida Historical Society. This program will be at the Melbourne Public Library (540 E. Fee Avenue, Melbourne) from 3:00pm – 4:15pm.
The “Florida Before Statehood” presentation explores the history of humans in Florida. Beginning with the  rst people arriving onto the peninsula, this presentation details
in a very informational as well entertaining way the timeline from the  rst peoples through Ponce de Léon, who gave our state its name in 1513, and continuing through the era where Europeans began to establish permanent residence.
Florida lays claim to the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in North America, St. Augustine. Es- tablished in 1565, this settlement was already 42 years old when the approximately 100 settlers, making up the joint venture called the Virginia Company, founded the James- town colony in what would eventually become Virginia.
Beginning with the Spanish in 1513, colonial rule within the territory changed hands several times with both France and Great Britain until 1821 when it became a territory
of the United States from Spain (second Spanish period) through the through the Adams–Onís Treaty. On March 3, 1845, Florida became the 27th state.
Please be sure to visit our website (http://southbrevard- history.org/aroundbrevard.html) to read more about south Brevard’s history as well as to read our “Around Brevard” for “wheretogoandwhattodoinBrevard”. SS
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