When my children knew that I was going to live in Florida they offered me equipment for snorkeling. I had never done so and I was thrilled that I could be involved in this activity given the Keys’ reputation for its corals.
Then on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I, very feverish, tried the experiment. I walk in the water with curiosity and enthusiasm. Beautiful benches of blue fish, tiny yellows, tiny that follow me. I continue, the adventure is beautiful. The snorkel is a fascinating activity where you forget the outside world and you are guided by the beautiful fish The sun rays filter through the water letting us glimpse the tall grasses that attract multicolored fish. Suddenly there is an astonishing effervescence. A fish of about six feet, rather slender but massive, advances. The teeth are prominent. It weighs about 80 pounds (this is the template of one of my old aunts). I am not a fisherman but in the eye it does not look like a trout. He’s lonely and let’s say he has a dirty mouth. Suddenly I have a doubt. I did not think I could beat that fast. The equipment of false siren of the seas has its utility! Then I realized that the beach was much further away than I had anticipated. I do not have hyper ventilated but let’s say I found it hard to catch my breath. The beating heart I came out of the water quite dazed. I probably had a face to face with a barracuda. The fish you do not dream of seeing during his first snorkeling experience, finally not me.
And if the Barracuda were not so dangerous even if they have canines that can cut their victims to pieces? They have a pointy nose and apparent teeth and are cold-blooded predators like all fish. They are not always lonely and can stand in benches with a few thousand buddies. They are not concerned with their offspring, which reaches adulthood at two years. It is however impossible to know the sex of these fish that live about 14 years. They are good prey for fishing enthusiasts but are not edible. For this species equipped with a spine, it is easy for them to find prey in the corals thanks to an elongated silhouette which gives them a great flexibility. The look of predators sticks to their scales for 50 million years.
Now I know that barracuda only very seldom attacks humans unless provoked and this fact has been confirmed by some Crandon Park specialists who have never heard of an attack.
A little advice however: the jewelry is to proscribe since they attract the barracudas that are curious … Anyway this coquetry is useless given the little sex appeal that give us the mask, snorkel and palms!
It is to Napoleon Bonaparte Broward, (the name is not modest I agree and the parents had a lot of humor!) Then governor of the State of Florida, that the county of Broward owes its name. The counties of Palm Beach and Dade were split up to create this new county in 1915.
It took less than a century to make a land unsuitable for humans as a paradise for millions of people.
The task was not easy, however. Roads, ports and a railway were needed for the inhabitants to survive. There was only the sea, the sand, the sun, and the Everglades. It was almost impossible to do culture there.
Yet anthropologists have discovered human remains at Vero Beach on the east coast and at Charlotte Harbor on the west coast. These bones of Indians, hunters of big game would date more than 10 000 years. As food is lacking, there is an evolution of the type of their society. The Indians of this period, whom archaeologists call the « Archaic » eat almost everything they find, and studies have even shown that their teeth were worn out by the sand they would have had in their diet. They are the first residents of Broward County. They are nomads in search of food: crustaceans, fish, deer and bears, seaweeds and pears. They do not stay long in the same place since they are always looking for food.
This tribe which the Spaniards baptized of Tequesta was not the most hospitable. They did not like foreigners and in 1521 Ponce de Leon was killed in Charlotte Harbor and the Spanish mission established at the mouth of the Miami River was abandoned in less than two years. The Tequesta are less and less numerous in this region, they appear no more than 80 in southeastern Florida in 1763. The few remaining Indians fled to Havana when the Spaniards ceded Florida To Great Britain at the end of the war between France and the Indians.
The British again ceded the territories to the Spaniards by the Treaty of Paris after the American Revolution. Finally, Americans were offered Florida by Spain in 1821.
The Seminole Indians, forced to migrate further south, refuse this time to give up their pastures and fertile lands in northern Florida, which they have long cultivated for settlers who try to take ownership of them and do their best for them eliminate. It’s the war.
In 1838, many volunteers and the army commanded by Major William Lauderdale, established a fort at the mouth of the New River. This fort and the one that was later built on the beach bears the name. Yet the fear of the Seminoles persisted more than fifty years after the end of the wars in 1842.
Some farmers still decided to settle in the area and in 1891 there was enough to justify the establishment of a post office. The mail was distributed by a mailman who was barefoot on the beach between Hypoluxo at the end of Lake Worth and Miami.
On February 22, 1896, thanks to Mr. Flagler, who extended the railway line to New River, the first train entered the station. The railroad was there. They were missing the home buyers. With great publicity, Flagler is promoting South Florida. It was the northeastern Swedes who responded to the call and settled in Hallandale and Danes from the Midwest founded Dania. Farmers from the south are looking for better land and are also settling in Pompano and Deerfield.
Everglades drainage and canal dredging north and south of the New River have contributed greatly to the county’s prosperity, both through farming and residential development.
Although between 1920 and 1925 there was an average annual increase of 9,107, between 1950 and 1970 it was much larger, ie 26,808. The population increased from 83,933 to 620,100 inhabitants . If the first arrivals were farmers, the new ones were largely retired. This markedly changed the economy of the region.
The recession of 1974 hit Florida so strongly that there were up to 50,000 condominium apartments not sold at that time. Fortunately, all this is of the past.
The most formidable now are the real estate developers who could disfigure forever this environment that attracted those who were in search of sun and sweetness of life!