Florida State Study

FloridaJoin us for a Florida State Study today.  There’s also a printable map for your kids to color . . . keep reading.


Florida was the last settled of the eastern states.  Its settlement and pioneer period was actually contemporary with the states of the west.  The peninsula was controlled by the Spanish, though the French and the British both tried to control the area.  The earliest colonies of North America were settled here but died out quickly as they insisted on massacring each other.   Eventually, the Americans bought it/won it through treaty from the Spanish.

Harsh clashes between the Seminole Indians and the Americans marked the early history of Florida.  The Seminoles harbored free and run-away slaves making the struggle even more bitter . . . GO SEMINOLES!  (Sorry, I couldn’t resist).  The Seminoles did not win this one in the end however and they were mostly forcibly removed from their lands.

Chief Ee-mat-la, aka, King Philip, of the Seminole Tribe of Florida

By the time of the Civil War, there were cotton plantations worked by black slaves in Florida plus a few small struggling family homesteads, but the population of the state was very small.  So though they seceded with the rest of the southern states their distance and small population prevented the state from taking a very large role in the Civil War.

This is a couple sitting on a beach in Broward County, Florida. Photo by Barry Haynes, CC license, Wikimedia.

In the 1920’s tourism took off in Florida and the state gained a new economic base to grow from. Today Florida is the fourth most populous state in the union, inhabited by retirees and Hispanics, especially from Cuba and other Caribbean islands, in large numbers.

Library List

My two favorite books about Florida are The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski.


Fun Facts about Florida

  • Florida is basically a big sandbar.  It rains a lot but is still parched because the water just pours straight through the soil.
  • Alligators wander through some neighborhoods at will.  Some people have fences that completely enclose their yards, roofs and all, to keep these pests away.
  • Space Program launches have always been based in Florida at Cape Canaveral.
  • St. Augustine, FL is the oldest European settlement in North America.
  • The states official stone is the “moonstone” which is not native to Florida, nor does it come from the moon.  I guess they thought it sounded cool.
  • Swamps like the Everglades clean water, provide habitat for plants and animals and prevent flooding.
  • Lots of people go waterskiing in Florida with the alligators.  If you fall, you have to curl up in a ball and play dead until the boat comes to pick you up.
  • There are two different Withlacoochee rivers in Florida.  Same name, different places.

Map of Florida Exploration

Color a Florida Map.


Here are some things to add to your map:

  • Orlando
  • Tallahassee
  • Jacksonville
  • Pensacola
  • St. Petersburg
  • Tampa
  • Miami
  • The Florida Keys
  • The Everglades
  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Gulf of Mexico

You can add other features and cities depending on the ages of your children.

Additional Layers

  •  Learn more about the Seminole Indians.
  • Many people aided runaway slaves in the years preceding the Civil War.  Learn more about them.  Do you think it was right for them to break the law in this case?  Why?  When is it okay to break the law?
  • The earliest European settlements were in Florida.  Find out more about the wars and massacres that took place between the French and Spanish during this time.
  • The illusory Fountain of Youth was thought to be in Florida for a time.  Learn more about Ponce de Leon and his ill-fated expedition.
  • One of the biggest tourist draws in Florida is Disney World.  Find out the history of this hugely successful company and its founder, Walt.

More From Layers of Learning

Our geography page has studies for all 50 states.  Here’s a Connecticut State Study.  You might also like our Mt. Rushmore Story Paper and this Pop Bottle Ecosystem Project.






  1. We live in Florida, and ski on the St. John’s River which is full of alligators, but we don’t curl up and play dead when we fall. The alligators just ignore us and we try to keep our distance when we see one.

    1. You are brave Tammy! We lived on the shores of Lake Okeechobee and they always seemed to be lurking all around. No one dared flail their legs or kick too much…we curled up and hoped the boat returned ASAP. The only freshwater area that we swam in that we didn’t worry was at Homosassa Springs/Crystal River because the manatees seemed to keep them mostly away. Thanks for your story and visiting our site! 🙂

  2. I am laughing at the Fun Facts. As a Florida native I can say- It does not rain everyday. It actually didn’t rain December through April this year. We do have droughts. Alligators do not roam neighborhoods. If you live next to a pond, lake or canal then you may encounter one. And I would never swim in fresh water when the beach is a much better option!

    1. You are welcome to laugh all you want, but we lived there also and indeed encountered many gators. We lived near a lake. I promise you, the gator tidbits, including the waterskiing, are from firsthand experience! Thanks for stopping in, reading, and leaving us a comment! 🙂

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