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USF professor will speak on 16th century Florida

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Published:   |   Updated: April 4, 2014 at 11:25 AM

NEW PORT RICHEY — Florida celebrated its 500th birthday last year and to continue the festivities the last year surrounding centuries of the state's history, the West Pasco Historical Society has planned a presentation.

Florida Humanities Council speaker and historian J. Michael Francis who will speak on “Spanish Florida: Its Africans, Indians and Europeans.”

This presentation will explore the earliest history of European settlement on the North American continent here in Florida in the 16th century.

Francis, who holds the Hough Family Endowed Chair in Florida Studies at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, received his doctorate from the University of Cambridge, in England, and has taught and written extensively on colonial Florida and Latin America. In 2011, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar appointed Francis to serve on the Saint Augustine 450th Commemoration Commission.

This presentation is free, and will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 19, at 6431 Circle Blvd., at the Rao Musunuru, M.D., Museum, between Orange Lake and Sims Park.

It's only recently that the West Pasco Historical Society is attracting nationally known speakers for its events. The high costs have so far been absorbed by a board member and by a grant from the Florida Humanities Council.

Dan Callaghan, vice president of the West Pasco Historical Society, said that if the organization fails to fill the 40 seats in the museum for this presentation, it may have to forgo costly national speakers in favor of local speakers willing to appear for free.

To reserve seats, by no later than April 17, contact Dan Callaghan at (727) 372-1742(727) 372-1742. Those attending will receive a free one-year subscription to the award-winning magazine of the Florida Humanities Council, FORUM, a glossy publication offering lively insights and photographs of Florida's people, places and culture.

You can follow Daylina Miller on Twitter at @DaylinaMiller.

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