For the last 14,000 years, water has shaped human settlement in Florida. In the age of European exploration, the Earth’s oceans represented vast unexplored frontiers. When Columbus successfully crossed the Atlantic, he discovered what was quite literally a “New World” to Europeans and Asians. In this context, water was a frontier to be conquered, a barrier to be penetrated, a veil to be lifted. European cartographers attempted to definitively map Florida for centuries, but the peninsula’s geography presented numerous challenges. The fact that much of south Florida was covered in swamp and shallow water perplexed cartographers. Some treated this territory as dry land, some sketched it as a hodgepodge of islands and waterways. The fact that the levels of inland waterways fluctuated with the wet summer and dry winter seasons made accurate cartography that much more difficult.