Cultural, heritage events celebrate Florida’s 500th anniversary

To celebrate the New World discovery in 1513, the Sunshine State is hosting a long list of cultural and heritage events under the campaign “Viva Florida 500.”

These days, Florida welcomes more than 87 million tourists a year, but five centuries ago, when Juan Ponce de Leon landed on what is now known as the east coast of Florida, visits from afar were rare. The Spanish explorer’s voyage, a failed attempt to find gold, brought European settlers to the land inhabited by Native Americans and launched a new era in Florida’s history.

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