Florida covers 58,599 sq mi; its capital is Tallahassee. Indian groups entered Florida from the north as early as 10,000 years ago. It was explored by Juan Ponce de León in 1513, and in 1565 Spaniards founded St. Augustine. Florida became a British possession in 1763 after the French and Indian War. The area reverted to Spanish control after the American Revolution (1783) but was used by the British as a base of operations during the War of 1812. Andrew Jackson's capture of Pensacola during the First Seminole War led to the cession of Florida to the U.S. in 1819. Florida became a state in 1845. It seceded from the Union in 1861, then was readmitted in 1868. In the late 20th century it became one of the fastest growing states in the U.S. It produces about 75% of the nation's citrus fruits and is second only to California in vegetable production. Tourism is a leading industry, with Disney World a major attraction. Electronics manufacture is important, and the aerospace industry, led by the Kennedy Space Center (by Cape Canaveral), employs many thousands of people. The state, and especially the city of Miami with its large Cuban population, plays a major economic role in the Caribbean region. Among its many recreational areas is Everglades National Park.
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