Historical Museum of Southern Florida

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Tropical Dreams: Southward Expansion

The period of International Rivalry ended when the United States gained possession of Florida. In the very southern end of the peninsula came the blossoming of the island town of Key West as the center for the “wrecking industry.” The important trade routes which pass close to the treacherous coral reefs caused the development of a regulated system of salvaging cargoes and saving lives. Navigational improvements gradually reduced the number of wrecks. Mainland settlement was encouraged with the passage of the Homestead Acts. To help make good lands available to settlers, the United States adopted a national policy of Indian removal. In Florida that meant treaties, reservations, and many years of war as the Seminoles resisted their forced removal from Florida.

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