La Florida
Five Hundred Years of Hispanic Presence

Edited by Viviana Díaz Balsera and Rachel A. May

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"A splendid, highly readable collection that reflects substantial new research and findings on Hispanic influence in Florida."--Ralph Lee Woodward, author of Central America: A Nation Divided

"Deeply researched and sweeping across five centuries, La Florida is admirably multi- and interdisciplinary in approach and features a truly distinguished lineup of authors. Topics range from flora and fauna to archaeology and early chronicles, to politics high and low, to literature, art, architecture, music, food and foodways, and of course to the diverse and often fascinating people who made them."--Richmond F. Brown, editor of Coastal Encounters

Commemorating Juan Ponce de León's landfall on the Atlantic coast of Florida, this ambitious volume explores five centuries of Hispanic presence in the New World peninsula, reflecting on the breadth and depth of encounters between the different lands and cultures.

The contributors, leading experts in a range of fields, begin with an examination of the first and second Spanish periods. This was a time when La Florida was an elusive possession that the Spaniards were never able to completely secure; but Spanish influence would nonetheless leave an indelible mark on the land. In the second half of this volume, the essays highlight the Hispanic cultural legacy, politics, and history of modern Florida and expand on Florida's role as a modern transatlantic cross roads.

Melding history, literature, anthropology, music, culture, and sociology, La Florida is a unique presentation of the Hispanic roots that run deep in Florida's past and present and will assuredly shape its future.

Viviana Díaz Balsera, professor of Spanish at the University of Miami, is the author of The Pyramid under the Cross and Calderón y las quimeras de la Culpa. Rachel A. May, professor of Latin American and Caribbean studies and director of the Institute for the Study of Latin America and the Caribbean at the University of South Florida, is the author of Terror in the Countryside.


Amy Turner Bushnell is an Invited Research Scholar at the John Carter Brown Library and an Adjunct Associate Professor of History at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Raquel Chang-Rodriguez is a Distinguished Professor of Hispanic Literature and Culture at the City College Graduate Center at the City University of New York.

Darién J. Davis is a Professor of History at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont.

Jorge Duany is a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras.

Carmen de la Guardia Herrero is a Professor at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in Madrid, Spain.

Susan Eckstein is a Professor of International Relations and Sociology at Boston University in Massachusetts.

Marcos Feldman is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, Illinois.

Paul E. Hoffman is the Paul W. and Nancy W. Murrill Distinguished Professor and Professor of History at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Lousiana.

Richard L. Kagan is the Arthur O. Lovejoy Professor Emeritus of History and Academy Professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Jane Landers is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of History and the Director of the Ecclesiastical and Secular Sources for Slave Societies Project at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Jerald T. Milanich is an Emeritus Professor of the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida.

Gary R. Mormino is the Emeritus Frank E. Duckwall Professor of Florida Studies at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Karen Racine is an Associate Professor of Latin American History at Guelph University in Guelph Ontario, Canada.

Alex Stepick is a Professor of Global and Sociocultural Studies at Florida International University in Miami, Florida and Professor of Sociology at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon.
Sample Chapter(s):
Table of Contents

Florida Book Award for Florida Nonfiction, Gold - 2014

A thoughtful and informative multidisciplinary volume marked by an unusually elevated level of chapters that documents the nature and significance of the Hispanic presence in Florida from the early 16th century to the present. . . .Essential.

Travels five centuries using the lenses of art, architecture, literature, archaeology, politics, and at least a half-dozen other disciplines to trace the Hispanic presence in Florida that began in 1513 with Spaniard Ponce de León.

An insightful study of transatlantic connections and exchanges between Spain, Africa and the Americas from the 16th until the 21st century . . . [Provides] a broad panorama of transatlantic relations and connections that influenced Florida’s past and are still making an impact on its current situation.
--European Journal of American Studies

A significant publication that will be an important contribution Florida’s historiography and to the scholarly discussions about its future.
--European Journal of American Studies

Contain[s] snapshots of [Florida’s Spanish] heritage as manifested by specific populations in certain parts of the state. . . . A starting place for learning about Spanish influence in a region quite different from the one Ponce de León visited five centuries ago.
--Journal of American History

A timely and valuable addition to the historical and cultural literature of Hispanic influence in Florida.
--The Journal of Southern History

There is something for everyone in La Florida.
--St. Augustine Record

A deeply researched and highly readable volume that is truly multidisciplinary.
--Hispanic American Historical Review

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