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About Expatriate Collection

The Expatriate Digital Periodical Collection is an ongoing project to house, organize and preserve contemporary and historic material pertaining to expatriates living in Florida. This Digital Collection will consist of varied materials including bulletins, journals, magazines, newsletters, and newspapers.

Florida, from its very discovery, has been home to large numbers of immigrants. Florida’s expatriates hail from numerous regions around the globe like the Caribbean, Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia.

In 1513, Juan Ponce de León discovered Florida and European migration, specifically Spain, followed. By 1565, the Spanish established the village of St. Augustine in Northeast Florida. At about the same time the French also founded Fort Caroline in what is now Jacksonville, some 50 miles north of St. Augustine.

Nearly 200 years later, after the French and Indian War in 1763, Florida came under British control and migrants from the British Isles began to arrive.  Along with the British, less affluent Europeans from Greece, Italy and Minorca were brought along as indentured servants. At the end of the Revolutionary War Britain was defeated and Florida was returned to Spain in 1783. Approximately 40 years later, Spain ceded the Florida territory to the United States in 1821.

Beginning in the 1800’s Florida was promoted as a destination where ailing travelers could go to restore their health. By the end of the century, Canadians began to spend their winters in Florida, constructing homes, and frequently retiring there.

Decades later in 1959, Cubans fleeing Castro’s regime began to arrive in South Florida. By the 1980’s more than half of Miami’s population was Cuban. Also during the late 1950’s, Haitians who were escaping from an equally oppressive regime began coming to immigrate to Florida.

During the 1970s and 1980s large numbers of Asian immigrants began to arrive in Florida's major metropolitan areas. This included émigrés from the Philippines, China, Vietnam, India, Korea, Japan, and Thailand.

By the end of the 20th century, nearly one in five of Florida’s total population is foreign born. These new immigrants include people from countries such as Brazil, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Colombia, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. 

Florida currently ranks fourth amongst all U.S. states in the number of foreign-born residents.