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Spain established several settlements in Florida, with varying degrees of success.
In 1559, Don Tristán de Luna y Arellano established a settlement at present-day Pensacola, making it the first attempted settlement in Florida, but it was mostly abandoned by 1561. Augustine (San Agustín) was established under the leadership of admiral and governor Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, creating what would become the oldest European settlement in the continental U. and establishing the first generation of Floridanos and the government of Florida.
Florida was the first region of the continental United States to be visited and settled by Europeans.
The earliest known European explorers came with the Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León.
As a result of these initiatives northeastern Florida prospered economically in a way it never did under Spanish administration.
Florida attracted numerous Africans and African-Americans from adjacent British colonies who sought freedom from slavery.Ponce de León spotted and landed on the peninsula on April 2, 1513.He named the region La Florida ("land of flowers").In order to induce settlers to move to Florida, reports of its natural wealth were published in England.A large number of British settlers who were described as being "energetic and of good character" moved to Florida, mostly coming from South Carolina, Georgia and England.
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In May 1539, Conquistador Hernando de Soto skirted the coast of Florida, searching for a deep harbor to land.