Osceola Fights to Save the Seminole

In Florida during the 1830s a young Indian warrior led a bold and bloody campaign against the government's plan to relocate his people west of the Mississippi River

The story of Osceola and the Great Seminole War in Florida seems so fantastic at times that it is hard to believe it is all true. One warrior with courage, cunning, and audacity unsurpassed by any Native American leader masterminded battle tactics that frustrated and embarrassed a succession of U.S. Army generals. Read more »

Massacre In Florida

Spain’s attack on Fort Caroline and brutal slaughter of its inhabitants ended France’s colonial interests on the East Coast

In June 1564, 300 French colonists arrived at the mouth of the St. Johns River near present-day Jacksonville, Florida, after an arduous voyage across the Atlantic. Among these colons were men from some of France’s greatest noble houses, bedecked in bright clothes and suits of gilded armor, accompanied by a train of artisans and laborers. They built a triangular outer wall on the southern bank, dragged several cannon into it, and set about raising a village, which soon contained houses, a mill, and a bakery.Read more »

TR's Wild Side

As a Rough Rider in the Spanish-American War, Theodore Roosevelt’s attention to nature and love of animals were much in evidence, characteristics that would later help form his strong conservationist platform as president

ON JUNE 3, 1898, 39 days into the Spanish-American War, Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders arrived in Florida by train, assigned to the U.S. transport Yucatan. But the departure date from Tampa Bay for Cuba kept changing. Just a month earlier, the 39-year-old Teddy had quit his job as assistant secretary of the Navy, taken command of the 1,250-man 1st Volunteer Cavalry Regiment along with Leonard Wood, and began a mobilization to dislodge the Spanish from Cuba. Read more »

Shipwrecked History: Spanish Ships Found In Pensacola Harbor

A hurricane sank a fleet in Pensacola Bay 450 years ago, dooming the first major European attempt to colonize North America, a story that archaeologists are just now fleshing out

On August 15, 1559, the bay now known as Pensacola slowly filled with a curious fleet of 11 Spanish vessels, their decks crammed with an odd mix of colonists and holds filled to bursting with supplies and ceramic jars of olive oil and wine from Cadiz. Aboard the 570-ton flagship Jesus stood the wealthy and ambitious Don Tristan de Luna y Arellano, with direct orders from the king of Spain to establish a permanent colony in La Florida. The rest of the fleet included two galleons, beamy cargo ships known as naos , small barques, and a caravel. North America had never before seen anything like it on this scale.Read more »

Spring Break

Wildlife, Shells, and Thomas Edison’s Laboratory

 

The best family vacations combine mind-improving visits to museums and historic houses with enough recreation to keep the kids happy; the older and moodier your children grow, the more carefully you choose and apportion your ingredients.

Last April my husband, Kevin, and I took our two teenage boys to Lee County, Florida. A visit to the Edison & Ford Winter Estates would be the educational uplift, relaxing on Sanibel Island the reward.Read more »

Florida: Fort Myers, Sanibel

To Plan a Trip

For help organizing your visit, call the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau (888-231-6933) or visit its Web site, www.fortmyers-sanibel.com . Julie and Mike Neal’s Sanibel & Captiva: A Guide to the Islands is an excellent book to keep at hand; in addition to covering hotels and restaurants, it has chapters on identifying shells and birds. Edison’s house is now open after a major restoration; visit the Web site, www.edison-ford-estate.com .Read more »

The Sad End Of George And Martha

A true story of their final days on the Florida seashore

 

One summer afternoon not so very long ago, the police department of Holmes Beach, Florida, a village on the Gulf Coast a few miles north of Sarasota, took custody of an insignificant-looking package that immediately caused extreme apprehension around the little white station house on Marina Drive.

 
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Straight Talk From Camp Humbug

A soldier’s timeless meditation on the frustrations of military life

In the autumn of 1856, 1st Lt. Orlando Bolivar Willcox was dispatched with his regiment to the malaria-infested swamps of Florida to participate in the Third Seminole War. Willcox, an 1847 West Point graduate, had previously seen service in Mexico and on the Great Plains and would one day establish an outstanding record of service as a Union general in the Civil War. Yet it was the eight long months he spent in Florida that proved the most trying service of his career.

 
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Cuba Libre

Sexy and melancholy, festive and forlorn, the island has always heated the Yankee imagination. The author visits there in the late afternoon of a straitened era and looks back on four centuries of passionate misunderstandings.

In those days, back in the thirties, the forties, the fifties of this century, Cuba was Havana, and Havana was a dream.

I went to Havana On one of those cruises, Forty-nine fifty To spend a few days.…

The dream was set to music—Xavier Cugat playing Ernesto Lecuona’s “Siboney” and “Malaguena” and “You Are Always in My Heart,” Bing Crosby crooning, “They’re glad to see you, in See-You-Bee-Ay.” Read more »

First Step To The Moon

The first American to leave the Earth's atmosphere recalls the momentous flight that put us on a course for the moon.

THE SHRILL RINGING WOKE ME from deep sleep early in the morning of April 12, 1961. I was confused for a moment, but only a moment. I was in my room in the Holiday Inn at Cocoa Beach, Florida.

I reached for the clamoring telephone.

“What?”

The voice at the other end was soft, polite. Considerate. “Commander Shepard?” Read more »