ST. PETERSBURG – For those wondering what would Ponce De Leon think of his “La Florida” 500 years after his arrival on the peninsula and the beginning of Spanish influence in Florida, the next installment of Happy Hour with the Historian will explore the subject.
The lecture series will feature historian and author J. Michael Francis on Thursday, Sept. 5, at the St. Petersburg Museum of History, 335 Second Ave. NE.
Francis will present Rethinking La Florida – From Ponce De Leon to Jamestown. Doors will open at 6 p.m. for a happy hour cocktail meet-and-greet with Francis. Admission is a $5 suggested donation. The event runs 6 to 8 p.m. and will feature a full cocktail bar, wine and beer. Admission includes viewing of the museum.
Francis is the Hough Family Endowed Chair of the Florida Studies program at the University of South Florida – St. Petersburg. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge and received a four-year appointment as a research fellow at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and a research fellow at the Library of Congress. U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar appointed Francis as one of only two historians on the St. Augustine 450th Commemoration Commission.
His teaching fields include colonial Latin America, Early Florida, Spanish Borderlands, the Pre-Columbian Americas and Spanish Paleography.
Francis published “Invading Colombia” in 2008 by Penn State University Press. His most recent book, “Murder and Martyrdom in Spanish Florida: Don Juan and the Guale Uprising of 1597,” was published in 2011 by the American Museum of Natural History. His next book project, “The
Martyrs of Florida,” is under contract with the University Press of Florida.