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In 1559, Don Tristán de Luna y Arellano established a settlement at present-day Pensacola, making it the first attempted settlement in Florida, but it was mostly abandoned by 1561. Augustine (San Agustín) was established under the leadership of admiral and governor Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, creating what would become one of the oldest, continuously-occupied European settlements in the continental U. and establishing the first generation of Floridanos and the Government of Florida.
Spain maintained strategic control over the region by converting the local tribes to Christianity.
The geographical area of Florida diminished with the establishment of English settlements to the north and French claims to the west. Augustine, burning the city and its cathedral to the ground several times.
Spain built the Castillo de San Marcos in 1672 and Fort Matanzas in 1742 to defend Florida's capital city from attacks, and to maintain its strategic position in the defense of the Captaincy General of Cuba and the Spanish West Indies.
Much of the state is at or near sea level and is characterized by sedimentary soil. Along with Hawaii, Florida is one of only two states that has a tropical climate, and is the only continental state with either a tropical climate or a coral reef.
Florida is home to 51 of the world's billionaires with most of them residing in South Florida.