Welcome to Florida Sign by DonkeyHotey via Flickr available under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Seminoles, Retirees and Florida Man

A Brief History of the Sunshine State

As most of America is bundled up in the dead of winter – we’re wearing our flip-flops, slathering on sunscreen, and basking in the history of the Sunshine State.

On this episode of BackStory, Joanne, Nathan and Brian learn about the social media phenomenon called “Florida Man,” explore the often overlooked story of the Seminoles, discover how the state became a mecca for retirees, and find out about the remarkable efforts of one woman to preserve Florida’s natural environment.

This episode and related resources are funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this podcast, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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Seminoles, Retirees and Florida Man Lesson Set

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Florida is an important state for many reasons. As the third most populous state, it wields significant political power in national elections. It is the home of a sizable population of senior citizens who have relocated after retiring. It is also a hotbed for tourism, the former home of many relocated Native American tribes, and an important battleground for conservationists. Florida’s rapid changes in demographics throughout the 20th century make it a fascinating historical and sociological case study.

This lesson, and the corresponding BackStory episode, focus on how Florida has changed over the last two centuries. These shifts highlight historical collisions between different cultural groups, including:

  • Native Americans and United States settlers
  • Urban planners and environmentalists
  • Retired Americans and younger Florida natives

As a result, Florida has a unique and multifaceted identity that is representative of the entire United States.