Archaeological research indicates that Florida had been inhabited for thousands of years before any European settlements. Of the many indigenous peoples, the largest known were the Ais, the Apalachee, the Calusa, the Timucua and the Tocobago tribes.
"Florida" is the oldest surviving European place-name in the U.S. Juan Ponce de León, a Spanish conquistador, named Florida in honor of his discovery of the land on the evening April 2, 1513, six days after Easter and still during Pascua Florida, a Spanish term for the "Flowery Easter" season, and for the land's appearance as a "flowered land." "It was named for these two reasons." Juan Ponce de León may not have been the first European to reach Florida; according to one report, at least one indigenous tribesman who he encountered in Florida in 1513 spoke Spanish.)
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