This week on Florida Matters, we talk about how the environmental history of the Gulf of Mexico shaped human life over the years with Jack E. Davis, whose book The Gulf: The Making of An American Sea won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for History.
Davis is a professor of history and sustainability studies at the University of Florida. His book received a number of other accolades, including the Kirkus Prize and a New York Times Notable Book.
Davis talks about his personal connections to the Gulf and how the sea and communities surrounding it have evolved since his childhood.
We talk with Davis about how the sport of tarpon fishing in the Gulf kick-started Florida’s tourism industry, and the important roles other marine species like oysters, sponges and mullet played in Gulf communities.
We also talk about some notable people who had connections to the Gulf, like painter Winslow Homer and baseball player Ted Williams.