is a state located in the southeastern region
of the United States, bordering Alabama to the
northwest and Georgia to the northeast. Much of
the land mass of the state is a large peninsula
with the Gulf of Mexico to the west and south,
and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Most of Florida
has a humid subtropical climate; southern Florida
has a tropical climate. Florida was named by Juan
Ponce de León, who landed on the peninsula
on April 2, 1513. Florida is the fourth most populous
state in the U.S.
research indicates that Florida had been inhabited
for thousands of years before any European settlements.
Of the many indigenous peoples, the largest known
were the Ais, the Apalachee, the Calusa, the Timucua
and the Tocobago tribes.
"Florida" is the oldest surviving European
place-name in the U.S. Juan Ponce de León,
conquistador, named Florida in honor of his discovery
of the land on the evening April 2, 1513, six
days after Easter and still during Pascua Florida,
a Spanish term for the "Flowery Easter"
season, and for the land's appearance as a "flowered
land." "It was named for these two reasons."
(Juan Ponce de León may not have been the
to reach Florida; according to one report, at
least one indigenous tribesman who he encountered
in Florida in 1513 spoke Spanish.) From that date
forward, the land became known as "La Florida,"
although after 1630 Tegesta (after the Tequesta
tribe) was throughout the 1700s an alternate name
of choice for the Florida peninsula following
publication of a map by the Dutch cartographer
Hessel Gerritsz in Joannes de Laet's History of
the New World.