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The discovery of Florida has been a subject of much debate. While official credit is given to Ponce de Leon for discovering the state while searching for the ever elusive fountain of youth in 1513, many dispute that claim. For over two centuries now, the English have claimed that it was actually John Cabot and his son Sebastian that discovered Florida in 1497.

Florida would change hands several times from Spain to England, then back to Spain again before Spain sold it to the United States in 1819. Its early history is marked by bloody wars with the Seminole Indians that continued up until 1842. Just three years later, on March 3, 1845, Florida entered the Union as the 27th state.

Being the "Sunshine State", one of the main economic resources in Florida is of course, agriculture. Various citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit lead the list. But, melons, potatoes, peanuts and even sugar cane play major roles in the state's economy.

While Florida also has a strong base in manufacturing, its main source of revenue is tourism. Some 40 million tourists visit the state each year to take advantage of the warm, tropical temperatures and almost endless shoreline. The many amusement parks such as Walt Disney World, Sea World and Busch Gardens attract tourists from around the world.

With both Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center located there, the space industry plays a major role in the states culture. Florida is one of the leading launch and missile testing centers in the United States.

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