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The earliest known European explorers came with the Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León.

Ponce de León spotted and landed on the peninsula on April 2, 1513.

Florida is the 22nd-most extensive, the 3rd-most populous, and the 8th-most densely populated of the U. The Miami metropolitan area is Florida's most populous urban area. About two-thirds of Florida occupies a peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.

Florida has the longest coastline in the contiguous United States, approximately 1,350 miles (2,170 km), not including the contribution of the many barrier islands. The climate varies from subtropical in the north to tropical in the south.

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 one of the oldest, continuously-occupied European settlements in the continental U. and establishing the first generation of Floridanos and the government of Florida.

The state's economy relies mainly on tourism, agriculture, and transportation, which developed in the late 19th century.

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.

There was also a group of settlers who came from the colony of Bermuda.

Florida is also renowned for amusement parks, orange crops, winter vegetables, the Kennedy Space Center, and as a popular destination for retirees.

Florida culture is a reflection of influences and multiple inheritance; African, European, indigenous, and Latino heritages can be found in the architecture and cuisine.