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Florida isn't just an American swamp turned condo-canyon with pretty palm trees and beaches. And contrary to popular belief, the state's history is a lot richer than its reputation as a haven for retirees, celebrities, and people in dire need of a thaw and a deep, dark tan. From its emergence as a prehistoric swamp, a nexus of Native American culture and civilization, and a 16th-century hot spot for treasure-hunting Spanish explorers to a 21st-century destination of development, politics, and pop culture, Florida has experienced more reincarnations than Shirley MacLaine.

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