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Governor Scott and Secretary Browning Count Down to Florida’s 500th Anniversary

500 days until the start of Viva Florida 500, year-long commemoration of Florida history

8/19/2011 Miami – Governor Rick Scott today joined Secretary of State Kurt Browning, Ambassador Cristina Barrios, Consul General to Spain, and several international business leaders to start the 500 day countdown to Florida’s 500th anniversary year. Throughout 2013, Florida’s 500th anniversary year, the state will be commemorating its rich and diverse history dating back to 1513, when Juan Ponce de Leon became the first European to explore Florida or any other part of what is now the United States of America.

“Florida’s 500th anniversary is a milestone unlike any other in the history of the United States,” said Governor Scott. “By showcasing the diversity and depth of Florida history, we will spur new interest in our state and create new opportunities for our businesses, while also helping educate people of all ages about how Florida has positively impacted our country and the world.”

Florida’s quincentennial commemoration, officially called Viva Florida 500, is being coordinated by the Florida Department of State in partnership with individuals, organizations and businesses throughout Florida. The purpose of Viva Florida 500 is to showcase the variety of historic people, places and events that have helped shape Florida. All areas of Florida are anticipated to play a role in the commemoration, which will include many activities and events, as well as educational programming.

“Juan Ponce de Leon wasn’t the first to see this land, but his exploration led the way for cultures from every corner of the world to come and transform what he named La Florida into the culturally rich and diverse land it is today,” said Secretary Browning. “In 2013, we hope to commemorate all of the historic occasions that have taken place in Florida through the present day, allowing Floridians to better connect to their past while inspiring pride in who we are.”

As part of the preparation for Viva Florida 500, Governor Scott attended today’s 500 Days to 500 Years Business Roundtable to emphasize the potential educational and economic benefits of a quincentennial commemoration. The Governor met with Ambassador Cristina Barrios, Consul General to Spain, and the España-Florida Foundation 500 Years Board of Directors, a group of Spanish business leaders from the banking, infrastructure, telecommunications, insurance and other industries committed to highlighting Spain’s contributions to Florida and the United States. In total, the business leaders employ more than 20,000 people.

Beginning Saturday, August 20th, the Viva Florida 500 Twitter site will be counting down the 500 days until January 1, 2013, with historic facts about Florida. The Viva Florida 500 Facebook page is also being launched today. Friends and followers of the social media sites will be able to receive updates on the planning of Viva Florida 500 and information on ways to become a part of the commemoration.

For more information on Viva Florida 500, please visit or For more information on the España -Florida Foundation 500 Years, please visit

Posted by on Aug 23 2011. Filed under Local. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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