“La Florida: The Interactive Digital Archive of the Americas” is a platform that offers users a multidisciplinary and comprehensive perspective of colonial Florida history, blending images, maps, videos, and documents.
The University of South Florida, St. Petersburg (USFSP) has embarked upon a groundbreaking journey into Florida’s Spanish Colonial past, launching a bold initiative that highlights the state’s rich history in a unique and creative digital platform.
On March 16, 2018, the Former Residence of the Spanish Ambassadors in Washington, D.C. will host a public event to celebrate the formal launch of La Florida: The Interactive Digital Archive of the Americas. The La Florida project, directed by J. Michael Francis, Ph.D., the Hough Family Endowed Chair of Florida Studies at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, is an new initiative designed to bring together innovative historical research and cutting-edge technology.
From its inception, the project has been a collaborative endeavor. Spanish partners include the Instituto Nauta, which, with the support of the University of Málaga, the University of Córdoba, the University of La Sorbona, the Cabildo Cátedral de Córdoba, and the Fundación MAGTEL, has created a newly-endowed Chair of Global Mestizaje. The site’s innovative technology has been developed under the careful guidance of Edriel Intelligence, Madrid. Other technology companies, such as Microsoft, Google and Amazon, will participate through Edriel, under the direction of its Chief Innovation Officer, Francisco S. Guitard.
The site offers users a multidisciplinary perspective of colonial Florida’s rich history, a history that extends far beyond what we think of as Florida today. In addition to interactive maps, images, videos, and original documents, La Florida houses a comprehensive prosopographic database, a searchable biographical dictionary that records the lives of Europeans, Africans, and Native Americans who lived in Florida at any point between 1513 and 1821. To date, the USFSP team has identified more than 13,000 of Florida’s earliest colonial settlers, representing men and women from Europe, Africa, and the Americas.
As an open access site, La Florida invites researchers from around the world to explore the lives of the thousands of men and women who shaped Florida’s colonial past.
During the event, short films about La Florida history will be presented, and guests will have a chance to experience the Virtual Reality exhibition Mapping La Florida on the Veronika VR platform. The Website will be live from March 15.