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Feb 25th 2015

3 Things You Must Know About Florida

Florida was admitted to the Union on March 3, 1845, making it the 27th state of the United States of America (USA). One must be able to know its geography and history in able to figure out the significance behind the number.

Located in the southeastern region of the USA, Florida enjoys a subtropical climate. This is hardly surprising. (The western coastline is facing the Gulf of Mexico and the eastern part is along the Atlantic Ocean. Let's not forget the Caribbean, which is a boat away.) Ask Ernest Hemingway, who had been based here for years. He wasn't the only writer to be lured to this southern end. In fact, Florida became a major destination of many Americans during the winter season. Nothing like walking on sunshine.

But let's get serious. Here are three things to know more about Florida (and why we must celebrate this milestone figure):

The people reveal about its past. Many inhabitants come from Latin America. In the case of the Cubans, the international community witnessed their dramatic attempts to enter the US illegally. Some would be reminded of Juan Ponce de León, who set his eyes on the peninsula in 1513. He named it "La Florida" ("The Flowery). Spanish communities were built, but it didn't happen overnight. The new settlers have to contend with Native American groups, mostly the Apalachees. Accessibility also enticed the British and French explorers. After the state became a part of America, it declared its secession from the Union; Florida was one of the founding members of the Confederate States. There were more to come, but you would know the big picture.

Florida is a favorite sporting ground. Three NHL teams, two NBA teams, two NHL teams, two MLB teams. If you still have doubts, then you might not heard the news about a new MLS team in Orlando later this year. You can ask any baseball player, who do their spring training here. Florida is also the site of Winter Wimbledon, currently known as the Miami Masters. Three decades ago, this tennis tournament was nothing more than a grand vision by Butch Buchholz. He wanted another major tournament after the Australian Open. (The Grand Slam tourney was once held every December.) He was right, as it became a mandatory event.

The ultimate tourist destination. There are sands in every place you go, be it a long coastline or a pocket beach. But amusement parks abound in Florida. The Kennedy Space Center is also located here. The state is home to plants and animals not found in other parts of North America. The Everglades is one huge swamp, but you'll never look at it the same way after an unexpected encounter with the alligator. Or the key deer. Or the panther.

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