Few events in Florida's history had as direct an impact on the policies of the Spanish colony as the 1670 founding of Charleston, South Carolina. In this episode of the Florida History Podcast we go through the events that immediately proceeded 1670 including English Pirate Robert Searle's raid on St Augustine.
Sir Frances Drake, a famous figure in English history raided St Augustine in May 1586. The Spanish settlement was destroyed as Drake attacked Florida in the midst of the Anglo-Spanish War. Two years later Drake would be among the English commanders in the defeat of the Spanish Armada. Drake's raid had major impacts as the Spanish crown decided to consolidate it's Florida settlement at St Augustine, abandoning points north. It also led to a greater fortification of the town, which led into the 1600's, a time when St Augustine was one of the most prosperous settlements in what is now the United States.
George Smathers wasn't just an eyewitness to power. He was near the center of it. One of the few Americans in the twentieth century to have had a close personal relationship with three Presidents, Smathers came of age when he beat liberal incumbent Senator Claude Pepper in the 1950 Democratic Primary. Smathers, generally a conservative Democrat was very different than the progressive Pepper - Smathers was cozy with power and pragmatic with his voting record and ideology. He was an important figure both politically and personally in Washington and back home in Miami. We discuss his career in this week's podcast.
Beginning in 1972, Florida's Presidential Primary became a critical event in the Democratic Party's nominating process. Starting in 1976, it was an important date on the GOP's nomination calendar. Throughout the 1980's and 1990's Florida played a critical role. But as other states moved up their primaries, Florida was largely irrelevant in 2000 and 2004. Then in 2007 the legislature moved the 2008 primary up to late January, a move rejected by both national parties. Dropped back to a traditional March date, Florida surprisingly ended up playing a critical role in the GOP's nominating process in both 2012 and 2016.
Andrew Jackson is one of the most controversial and significant figures in American history. He is also one of the most significant and controversial figures in Florida history. The conqueror of Florida for the United States, Jackson hostility to Native Americans and runaway slaves drove his desire to overthrow the Spanish administration in the area. We discuss Jackson's flaws as well as his few redeeming qualities in this week's episode.
Few history books or common conversations about the American Revolution mention Florida. But our state saw battles fought on our soil and lots of side impacts from the war. We discuss them in this week's show.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was debated and passed while Martin Luther King Jr. brought great attention to the racial practices of Florida by leading a movement in St Augustine for integration during the Spring of 1964. We relive the St Augustine movement this week in honor of MLK Jr.'s birthday.
Political scientist Dave Trotter an expert on historical trends in Florida politics joins us to talk about the evolution of ideology, partisan preferences and elections since the 1950's in the areas of Florida around Interstate 4.
Biscayne National Park is one of the most unique geographic features in the United States. But the areas that are now part of the national park were almost developed. The creation of the park was one of the great early victories for Florida's burgeoning environmental movement. In Episode 29, we discuss the fight to designate Biscayne a national park.
Claude Pepper was one of the most prominent political figures ever from Florida. We look back at the legendary career of the fighting progressive Pepper, one of the most famous New Deal Democrats in the United States. A career that spanned six decades is discussed at length in this episode.
In an era when Florida and the south was dominated by one party and African-Americans had been disenfranchised, Sidney J. Catts came to power. His Governorship was lamentable era for the state as he publicly advocated racism towards African-Americans while fueling paranoia about Catholics and the possibility of a Papal takeover of Florida.
In Episode 24 we discuss how the Communist Cuban Revolution transformed Florida politics. We discuss the exile communities impact on politics as well as the Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile Crisis. We also discuss migration patterns that changed the way much of south Florida voted and touch upon the racial tensions of the 1980's and 1990's in southern Florida as it related to the migrations and politics of the time.
In 1763 the British took possession of St Augustine after almost 200 years of both Spanish interest and English/British raiding of the city. St Augustine played a role in the American Revolutionary War, something not often talked about today.
St Augustine is the oldest European settlement in the continental United States. We discuss the foundation of St Augustine, the collapse of the French settlement at Fort Caroline, the sacking of the city by Sir Francis Drake, the building of the Castillo de San Marcos, the creation of Fort Mose by freed/runaway Slaves from British North America and the defense of the city in the 1740 siege by the British invaders from Georgia. Next week we will discuss St Augustine under British rule and the role it played in the American Revolution.
In 1978, State Senator Bob Graham rides a campaign gimmick into the Governors office - then continues the workdays as he becomes on of the most popular and impactful public officials in Florida's history.
Few periods in American history evoke the passion and controversy of the Reconstruction era in the south. In this week's podcast we discuss Reconstruction era Florida politics and the ideology of the political parties at the time.
Florida has been a mecca for film since the early 1900's. We discuss Florida's rich movie history dating from the silent film era. We talk about the commitment the state had to the humanities and films both shot and set in Florida.
We discuss the Florida origins of Pan American World Airways the most famous name in aviation. Pan American is famous for the China Clipper, transpacific service and transatlantic flights from New York. But the airline also pioneered flying to Latin America and developed a base at Dinner Key in Coconut Grove as its first international hub even before the Marine Air Terminal in New York.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt took the first ever Presidential airplane flight in January 1943 to attend the Casablanca Conference following Operation Torch (the Allied invasion of North Africa). The flight was on Pan Am and departed Dinner Key en route to the conference. We discuss the flight and the history behind Presidential aviation in the episode also.
Ahead of Labor Day Weekend 2019 when Florida is preparing for Hurricane Dorian we look back at previous Labor Day storms that have impacted the state including the 1935 Keys storm and 2004's Hurricane Frances. We also speak in general about Florida hurricanes continuing a discussion from episode 10 which was focused on Hurricane Andrew.
We cover the three Seminole Wars fought between 1816 and 1858. We look at the promises made and broken by the United States to the Native Americans as well as the treachery of the US forces. We also talk about how these wars impacted the careers of future Presidents Andrew Jackson and Zachary Taylor.
In part 2 of our look at Henry Flagler, we discuss the extension of the railroad south of Palm Beach. The railroad's extension led to the development of Miami, now a world class city and one of the economic and cultural capitals of the Americas. But at the time the railroad was built Miami was small village at the mouth of the Miami River. Florida's leading city at the time, Key West sat 150 miles away and completely unconnected by road or railroad to Florida's mainland. Flagler would change that and eventually link Key West to the rest of Florida.
But unlike other towns Flagler built his railroad to and through, Key West was an established and vibrant city, the largest at the time in Florida and one of the richest in the United States. So Flagler connected Key West but did not "colonize" the way he did St Augustine, Palm Beach, Miami and so many other places where he in fact developed the core of the towns.
Standard Oil co-founder Henry Flagler builds a railroad to St Augustine and revives the oldest city in the America's north of the Rio Grande. Flagler's railroad is then extended south to Palm Beach where he builds Whitehall, one of his residences and the Breakers Hotel. Flagler's St Augustine compliments the remaining colonial buildings from the Spanish and British periods and gives St Augustine it's third prosperous era after the early Spanish days (1565-1704) and the English period when colonial Tory defections to Florida grew the city (1763-1783.
This is part one of a two part series on Henry Flagler.
Among the least ideological and most colorfully controversial characters in the history of Florida Politics, Claude Kirk the state's first post-reconstruction Governor is always someone fun to talk about.
We look back at the impact of Hurricane Andrew on the governance, politics, attitude and demographics of Florida. Governor Chiles recorded the lowest ever approval rating in the state's history immediately after the storm while President George H.W. Bush's botched reaction helped lead to an era of ultra-competitive Presidential elections in the state.
We also talk about the similarities between Andrew and Katrina and the impact on Florida's building codes, evacuation procedures and government in general.
We discuss Florida's role in the American space program to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon launch from Cape Canaveral and the July 20 moon landing in 1969. Apollo 11 like all other Apollo missions was launched from Kennedy Space Center.
In this episode, we discuss the importance of the space program to development of Central Florida, the exposure the launches gave Florida, and the politics around keeping the space program centered around the state at a time when NASA and the federal government were considered moving the Shuttle program.
We look back at the political career of Lawton Chiles beginning with his walk across the state in 1970. We look at the divisions within the Florida GOP in 1970 that allowed Chiles and Reubin Askew to be elected statewide that year as new south Democrats. We also look at Chiles Senate career and his campaigns for Governor in 1990 and 1994. We also discuss his dealing with a GOP-led legislature after the 1996 and his tragic death in 1998 just a month after Jeb Bush's election.
We dive into the history of one Florida's most important and independent historical cities- Key West. The city which was the most populated in the state in the late 1800's has played host to Presidents, writers and political leaders while maintaining its charm and independence.
A must listen for any political junkie in the state, we dissect the legendary Pork Chop Gang and the birth of modern Florida politics. We look discuss how the power of the rural North Florida legislators was eventually broken and the why Florida emerged as a shining progressive state in an otherwise conservative south.
Since 1876 Florida has been a decisive state in Presidential politics both in General Elections and in party primaries. We take a quick look back at some of the colorful history of presidential elections and primaries in our state.
Episode 3 focuses on the central role Florida played in the Civil War as a supplier not of only of men but of resources to the Confederacy. Despite being the lowest populated southern state on the eve of the war, Florida was critical to the Confederate War effort and the Union's plans to choke the confederacy.
In episode two we take a brief look at the historic divisions between south Florida and north Florida. The cracker identity v the "Cincinnati effect." We discuss the cultural identity of both regions and the inevitable clash both politically and socially that would come in time. The conflict between different regions of our diverse state will be an underlying theme of much of what is discussed on this show in the future. We talk about the rivalry between regions and how Florida historically has always had divisions between parts of the state.
In our initial podcast co-hosts Kartik Krishnaiyer and Robert Buccellato discuss the rich history and legacy of the State of Florida laying out topics of discussion for the show going forward.
Whether it is colonial St Augustine, Henry Flagler's railroad, Disney World setting up shop in the state, the growth of Eastern Airlines, The Civil War or any number of other topics in Florida history we will cover it on this weekly podcast.