Fort Lauderdale History

The history of Fort Lauderdale dates back thousands of years, when the native Tequesta Indians inhabited the area. European contact with the region began in the 1500s, which was nearly a death sentence for the natives, whose population was devastated, particularly by the introduction of new disease. Among the various Fort Lauderdale facts is the origination of its name; a stockade was built in the area in 1838, which later gave its name to the city, which was incorporated in 1911. In the 1920s, major development started, and the illustrious canals and the finger islands bordering them came into being. Fort Lauderdale history played an important role during World War II, the city became an important Naval station, and Port Everglades was a major port for the Coast Guard. Today, it is a major tourist destination filled with yachts, attractions, and activities.

There are several archaeological sites where a host of interesting Fort Lauderdale facts has been uncovered, which help tell the story of the city. More than a thousand years ago, Tequesta Indians inhabited the land on which Fort Lauderdale was built, but even before that, archaeological excavations show that the human history of Fort Lauderdale dates back to at least 4,000 years ago. A neighboring tribe, the Calusa, held a politically dominant position in the area, and though the tribal population occupied a much smaller area, their dominance spread out over the entire southern portion of Florida. Upon the arrival of the Spanish, foreign diseases ravaged the native population, as the Indians had no immunity to deadly illnesses such as smallpox, and soon, the Tequesta population declined dramatically. In 1763, only a few of these Indians remained, and when the land changed hands from the Spanish to the British, these few were transported to Cuba.

During this part of Fort Lauderdale history, the area remained largely undeveloped, with very new few inhabitants arriving throughout the American Revolution and Civil War and into the twentieth century. In 1838, the stockade was constructed and named Fort Lauderdale. Later, it would be used in the Second Seminole War and then abandoned in 1842, and the land would be nearly uninhabited once again until the arrival of Frank Stranahan, who operated the ferry on the New River, and the Florida East Coast Railroad that ran through the area. In 1893, Hugh Taylor Birch, an attorney from Chicago, bought up over three miles of coastal land, where he built his last home, and later, in the late 1940s, donated it to the city, and it became the eponymous Hugh Taylor Birch State Park; this is one of the more interesting Fort Lauderdale facts that remains very much alive in today's tourist attractions. Fort Lauderdale was incorporated as a municipality in Florida in 1911 and selected as the seat of Broward County in 1915.

Throughout Fort Lauderdale history, developmental work continued, and the land was overhauled into a completely new landscape. The construction of canals, the clearing of mangrove, and the development of the finger islands all began in the 1920s. However, on the heels of these changes came the Miami Hurricane in 1926 and the Great Depression, which caused the development and economy to decline rapidly. It was not until World War II that things began to pick up. Fort Lauderdale became a Naval and Coast Guard base, and as the war ended, military personnel returned to Fort Lauderdale and stayed, causing the population to grow rapidly.

Today, Fort Lauderdale is a leading tourist destination in the United States, offering some of the most beautiful beaches and fascinating attractions in Florida. Visiting the Venice of America, as the city is sometimes called, will not only give you a relaxing vacation experience, but it will give you a chance to experience the history of Fort Lauderdale while visiting some of the attractions, such as the Stranahan House and the Bonnet House and Gardens, or simply wandering through the city.

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