La Florida (Land of the Flowers) is a name given to this land after discovery by Spaniard Juan Ponce de León in 1513. The Spanish defended this peninsula, located on their return route to Spain until 1821, when the United States purchased Florida. Today, it is vacation destination that attracts many visitors. Tourist attractions range from the vast expanse of the Everglades in the south to the historic city of St. Augustine in the north. But the most popular are the theme parks around Orlando and many resort cities that rim the coast.