Florida after Ponce de León: New Findings to Challenge Old Frameworks
Historians and anthropologists who study the many frontiers that came and went in Florida, between its discovery by Juan Ponce de León in 1513 and the maroon wars that opened it to American settlers three centuries later, often ask themselves and each other why the many larger fields into which their research fits--regional frameworks like the Caribbean, colonial Latin America, colonial British America, and the North American continent, and thematic frameworks like the Backcountry, the Borderlands, the Atlantic World, and mission studies--have been so slow to address and incorporate their findings, which have the potential to reshape good-sized portions of the colonial, early national, and Native American narrative. In this panel, making a case for a neglected region and an overlooked literature, three scholars present findings drawn from their on-going research. Each paper challenges some aspect of the received wisdom about early Florida, a veritable palimpsest of sequent occupations since its colonization in 1565. Together, the three make a powerful case that it is long past time for the caretakers of the established interpretive frameworks to sweep out their corners and throw open their casements to some bracing Florida air.