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South Florida in 1860


On the eve of the Civil War, the southern half of the Florida peninsula remained the last great coastal frontier region east of the Mississippi River. Although the 700-mile coastline from Tampa Bay to the northern Indian River, embracing the Florida Keys, had been charted since the eighteenth century, much of this land was still unsettled. Despite the recent activity brought about by the Second and Third Seminole Indian wars, the vast interior was, for the most part, unexplored. Although growth was slow, settlement and economic activity were steadily increasing. Despite its unsettled condition, south Florida’s proximity to the rest of the South, and to the Caribbean, determined that the region would feel the effects of the oncoming conflict.