The year 2013 marks the quincentennial of Juan Ponce de Leon's exploration of lands known for the past five hundred years as Florida. Historians have long noted the consequences of Ponce's activities, interpreted their origins, and offered assessments of the region's past as it related to events taking place in 1513 and the century that followed. Some have focused on European conquistadores, highlighting the exploits of colorful individuals and the institutions they represented. Others have emphasized the lives of Florida's indigenous inhabitants, especially their existence prior to colonization and reactions to foreign invaders in subsequent years. In terms of methodology, scholars from a variety of disciplinary fields have relied on travel accounts, government ledgers, and international correspondence to reconstruct the period while increasingly incorporating other forms of evidence uncovered by processes such as bioarchaeology, climate analysis, and oral traditions. Partially as a result, the historiography of sixteenth-century Florida has shifted in emphasis over the years and highlighted various themes. Yet many questions concerning the period and region remain unanswered, or at least, subject to debate. Rather than provide definitive answers that will endure for another five centuries, this Special Issue of the Florida Historical Quarterly offers understandings of Florida's sixteenth-century past as crafted a half-millennia after Ponce made his momentous journey.
Lester, Connie L.
"500 Years of Florida History - The Sixteenth Century: An Introduction,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 91:
3, Article 3.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol91/iss3/3