Thursday, August 26, 2010

Florida History Facts: "Florida" named for a holiday

Florida - What's not in its name

Most with an acquaintance of the Spanish language know "Florida" translates into English as flowers. But the state was not named for flowers.

In 1513, a few days after Easter Sunday, the Spanish "conquistador" Juan Ponce de Leon  (1474-1521) and his contingent landed in an area assumed to be near present day Cape Canaveral, an area not known for flowers.

Spanish historian Antonio de Herrera Tordesillas (1559-1625) wrote: "And thinking that this land was an island they named it 'La Florida' because they discovered it in the time of the flowery festival."

That festival is/was known as Pascua Florida or "flowery Easter." And so, the name Florida was named for when it was discovered, not for flowers that may or may not have been part of that 16th-century vista. Copyright ©2010 Jane Feehan. All rights reserved. Check archives for other Florida history facts.

The Everglades, River of Grass, by Marjory Stoneman Douglas (Banyan Books, 1978)
Also: The Catholic Encyclopedia online at

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