The Spanish Conquistadors in La Florida

The Adventures and Misadventures of the Early Spanish Explorers in Florida
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4,225 students enrolled
Instructed by Gerald Franz Academics / Humanities
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  • Lectures 8
  • Length 1 hour
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 9/2013 English

Course Description

This course will provide an historical survey of how Spain found and named La Florida, and their attempts to explore and settle here. The early conquistadors faced tremendous dangers and difficulties in Florida. Finally, Pedro Menendez was successful in founding St. Augustine in 1565. Even then the Spanish faced opposition from the other countries of France and England, and eventually, England would assume ownership of Florida, with the United States finally possessing Florida.

This course includes eight lectures. The lectures begin with a discussion of 15th and 16th century Spain, and how Spain came to the Caribbean Islands, where eventually they found the land they named La Florida. The next lectures summarize the Conquistadors who attempted to explore and settle the land, concluding with Pedro Menendez who was finally successful at St. Augustine. There follows a short overview of the rest of the history of Spanish Florida until the time when the United States assumed control in 1819. Finally, there is a concluding lecture that draws conclusions and notes the legacy of Spanish Florida.

A person can finish all of the lectures in about 70 minutes, and there are student notes and self-check quiz with each lecture (except the introduction lecture). There is also a select bibliography, and a final crossword puzzle with the last lecture.

What are the requirements?

  • To take this course, persons need to have a computer and either speakers or headphones for the video segments. The final bibliography is in both Microsoft Word format and rich text format, which can be opened by all word processors.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • In this course, you will be able to describe in overview fashion the origins of Spanish Florida, along with the main Spanish leaders who ventured here.
  • By the end of this course, you will be able to discuss how Spain and their successful Reconquista prepared them for their 'new world' adventures.
  • By the end of this course, you will be able to list the main conquistadors who came to La Florida, including Pedro Menendez, who founded St. Augustine.
  • By the end of this course, you will be able to summarize the history of Spanish Florida, and note some of the enduring legacies.

Who is the target audience?

  • This course is suitable for all persons, high school age and up.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Spain on the Move in the 15th & 16th Centuries

This short lecture will introduce the course and provide an overview of the lectures. The eight course lectures can be completed in about 70 minutes.


This lecture will set the stage by introducing Spain in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, focusing on King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, Christopher Columbus, and one of his officers, Ponce de Leon.

Section 2: The Conquistadors in Florida

This lecture will summarize the life of Ponce de Leon from his search for Bimini, including the discovery of La Florida and his final, fatal voyage there.


This lecture will discuss how the Spanish came to the 'new world' with a military mindset. We will also discuss the controversy at that time as to whether the indigenous peoples could be enslaved as laborers.


This lecture will focus upon the successors to Ponce de Leon. These conquistadors also failed to establish a settlement, and often were distracted from their mission by the search for gold or other wealth.


This lecture will cover the adventurous life of Pedro Menendez, especially his founding of the settlement St. Augustine, which became the oldest enduring European settlement in what would become the United States.

Section 3: Spanish Florida After Menendez

This lecture surveys the history of Spanish Florida after the founding of St. Augustine in 1565, including the spread of Catholic mission stations around Florida, the attacks by the British, the re-establishment of a Spanish fort at Pensacola, and the eventual ownership of Florida by England, and later, the United States.

Section 4: Conclusions and Legacy

This lecture draws some conclusions concerning Spanish Florida and discusses the enduring legacy of Spanish history and influence in the state of Florida.

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Instructor Biography

Gerald Franz, Professor of history

Dr. Franz has been teaching history for 30 years in various colleges, and sometimes to high school students. He has written a number of historical dramas for his history students, and after one season's performance, he received a letter of commendation from former president George Bush, Sr. for making history alive to students today. He has also taken history students on a number of field trips to various important historical locations. He hopes to continue putting short history courses on Udemy in order to share his favorite historical events. He currently teaches many online history courses for various universities, along with various live classes in his area.

He has been married for over 30 years to Wendy, and they have a son and daughter, both adults. They also have a few cats and a big German Shepherd dog. In their spare time, they love to walk, swim, and ride their bikes.

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