2014–15 Suggested Topics

The examples below offer a starting point for brainstorming about topics related to this year’s National History Day (NHD) theme, "Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History." Choosing one of these suggestions will not increase or decrease your chances of doing well at a National History Day contest.

Although you can select a topic dealing with any time or place in history, excellent subjects often are found by investigating local or statewide history. The availability of nearby scholars, firsthand informants, historic sites, and documents and records provides many research options, although your search for information about any topic should extend far and wide. Be sure to look at Research Resources on the FHF website for repositories in Florida. In addition, staff at the State Library and Archives of Florida have identified online resources in their collections that relate to Florida topics. You can visit the Library and Archives in person or access their collections online.

Exploration

  • Unidentified Peninsula: The Great Mystery of the 1502 Cantino Planisphere
  • Juan Ponce de León's Expeditions to Florida
  • The Ill-fated Expedition of Pánfilo de Narváez in La Florida
  • The Amazing Journey of Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca
  • Hernando de Soto's Expedition in La Florida
  • Reconstructing de Soto's Camp in Tallahassee
  • Tristán de Luna and the Failed Colony of Panzacola
  • The Search for the Lost Fleet of Tristán de Luna y Arellano
  • Jean Ribaut and the French Exploration of Florida
  • John Bartram: A Naturalist in Florida
  • Bernard Romans: Surveyor, Naturalist, Botanist in Florida
  • William Bartram: A Naturalist's Travels in Florida
  • Mapping the Florida Gulf Coast: The Legacy of George Gauld
  • The Florida Survey: Range and Township Markers across the Wilderness
  • Pathway to the Coast: The St. Marks and Tallahassee Railroad
  • Mapmaking in the Everglades: Mapping Florida in the Second Seminole War
  • Dr. John Gorrie's Development of the Ice-making Machine
  • Zora Neale Hurston: Searching for Florida Folklife
  • Amelia Earhart: Around the World Flight Begins in Miami
  • Cape Canaveral: From the First Manned Flight to the Present
  • Race to the Moon: The U.S. Space Industry
  • History of the Space Shuttle Program
  • Mapping the Wakulla Caverns
  • Native Evidence: Deciphering the Miami Circle
  • In Search of History: Florida's Bureau of Archaeological Research

Encounter

  • René Goulaine de Laudonnière and Fort Caroline
  • Jacques le Moyne, Artist of the French Fort of La Caroline
  • Juan Ortíz, Captive of the Indians in Florida
  • Hernando de Escalante Fontaneda, Captive of the Indians of South Florida
  • Pedro Menéndez de Avilés and the Founding of St. Augustine
  • The Spanish Mission System of Florida
  • Mission San Luis: The Second Colony of Importance in Florida
  • The Validity of the "Black Legend"
  • Francis Drake's Raid on St. Augustine
  • Unwelcome Visitors: The Shipwreck and Survival of the Jonathan Dickinson Party
  • Governor James Moore and the Raids into Spanish Florida
  • Fort Mose and the African Defenders of Spanish Florida
  • James Oglethorpe's Siege of St. Augustine
  • William Augustus Bowles and the State of Muskogee
  • Osceola and the Seminole People Stand Their Ground in the Second Seminole War
  • From Myth to Fact: Zachary Taylor's Encounter at Lake Okeechobee
  • Jonathan S. Walker and the Branded Hand: Slavery on Trial
  • Andrew Turnbull and the New Smyrna Experiment
  • The Japanese Yamato Colony
  • May Mann Jennings Fights for Women's Suffrage
  • The Ashley Gang and Florida's Frontier Justice
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Attempted Assassination by Guiseppe Zangara
  • The Koreshan Community of Estero, Florida
  • The Shaker Community of Narcoossee, Florida
  • Casadaga Spiritualist Community
  • Marjorie Stoneman Douglas and the Fight for the Everglades
  • World War II and Submarine Warfare along the Florida Coast
  • German Saboteurs Caught at Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
  • Harry Moore and the Fight for Civil Rights
  • Ax Handle Saturday: A Bloody Encounter
  • The Florida Supreme Court and Segregation
  • Seminole Tourist Villages
  • Cuban Immigration and the Transformation of South Florida
  • Vietnamese Refugees and Their Settlement in Northwest Florida
  • Scandals of the Supreme Court: Changing the Selection of Judges
  • Miami Dolphins Win the Super Bowl VII & VIII
  • Florida Marlins Win the World Series
  • Florida: The World's Tourist Destination

Exchange

  • Tragic Exchange: Contagious Diseases and the Hernando de Soto Expedition
  • The Role of the Catholic Church in Shaping Colonial Florida
  • The Mestizo Culture in St. Augustine
  • The Exchange of Spanish and Apalachee Lifeways at Mission San Luis
  • Spanish and Indian Trade in 17th-century La Florida
  • Today's Apalachee Indian: A Changed People
  • Black Seminoles and Maroons in Florida
  • Commerce from the Sea: The Key West Wreckers
  • Panton, Leslie, and Company and the Trade with Native Americans
  • The Forbes Land Grant
  • Passage to Nowhere: The Florida Cross-State Barge Canal
  • Stranahan's Store in Fort Lauderdale
  • Seminole Indians and the Smallwood Trading Post in Chokoloskee
  • Greeks and the Tarpon Springs Sponge Industry
  • The Cigar Industry of Key West and Ybor City
  • The Henry Plant Transportation System: Economic Exchange Opens in Florida
  • Pan-American Airlines, Founded in Key West
  • Martin Tabert and the Convict Lease System
  • Linking the Keys: Flagler's Overseas Railroad
  • Riding the Rails: America Rediscovers Florida After World War II
  • Disco: The Miami Sound and Caribbean Rhythms
  • The Fusion of Recent Immigrants into Florida Society
  • The Impact of Immigrant Traditions on Florida Society

National Topics (Prepared By NHD)

  • New Spain and the Comanche: Encounters, Missions, and Conquests
  • The Spark that Ignited a Flame: China's Explosion into Gunpowder
  • Roger Williams: The Exploration to Establish Rhode Island and Provide Religious Tolerance
  • Mansa Musa: Exploring Africa
  • Encounter and Exchange of Religious Ideas between Puritans and Native Americans in New England
  • Jesuit Missionary Matteo Ricci: Italy and China Exchange Philosophy and Astronomy
  • Catherine the Great's Encounters with Voltaire and the Enlightenment
  • Commodore Matthew Perry and Exchange with Japan
  • The Exchange of Disease: Encounters between Europeans and Native Americans in the Colonial Era
  • Catherine of Siena and Gregory XI: The Exchange that Returned the Church to Rome
  • James Cook and the European Encounter with Oceania
  • How the Encounter of the Chesapeake-Leopard Affair Led to the War of 1812
  • Venice 1348: A Global Encounter, a Deadly Exchange
  • Exploration and Ice: Encountering the North Pole
  • The Silk Road and Cultural Exchange
  • Encountering New Spain: Manifest Destiny and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
  • Exploring the Galapagos: Charles Darwin and the Theory of Evolution
  • American Missionaries, China, and Religious Encounters
  • Brigham Young, Mormonism, and Westward Expansion
  • Ada Lovelace: Exploring Computer Programming in 1840s England
  • Galileo: Exploring the Universe, Encountering Resistance
  • Athens and Sparta: Military Encounter and Exchange
  • Exploring the Nation: The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
  • Rudolf Roessler: The Allies' Exchange with an Undercover German Decoder
  • An Encounter with Fanaticism: John Doyle Lee and the Arkansas Mountain Meadows
  • Exploring Disease: Jonas Salk and the Polio Vaccine
  • The New York Stock Exchange: Money as Power
  • Margaret Mead: Exploring Human Development
  • Diplomatic Encounter: The SALT Talks
  • Exchange between France and the United States: The Louisiana Purchase
  • Exploring African-American Culture: The Harlem Renaissance
  • Intimate Exchange: Abigail and John Adams
  • Expanding the Boundaries of Dance: Martha Graham
  • Rosalind Franklin: Exploring the Human Genome, Encountering Prejudice
  • Exploring New Technologies: Andrew Carnegie's Steel Empire
  • Exploring America: Immigration
  • Nelson Mandela's Encounters with Apartheid
  • Exploring an Empire: Hammurabi's Expansion of Mesopotamia
  • Patterns of Exploration and Encounter: French Jesuits in Canada
  • Turkey and the Armenian Genocide: a Violent Encounter of Religious Difference on Close Borders
  • The Artistic Exploration: Bierstadt and Moran's Journey and the Creation of Yellowstone National Park
  • The Zimmerman Telegram: The Exchange that Broke Down American Isolationism
  • Reynolds v. United States: The Encounter between Polygamy and Law
  • Encounter in Little Rock: Desegregating Central High School
  • Encountering Communism: The Creation of NATO
  • Minersville School District v. Gobitis: When Idolatry Encounters Patriotism
  • Exchanging Musical Performance for Morale: Captain Glenn Miller's Contribution to World War II
  • The Exchange between Congress and the Executive: Who Decides to Fight a War?
  • The Iran-Contra Affair and the Controversial Exchange of Hostages for Arms
  • Waco: The Deadly Encounter between the Branch-Dravidians and the FBI
  • Apollo 13: Exploration in Space
  • Pop Art: The Exchange of Consumerism and Culture
  • Impressment: The Unwanted Exchange between Great Britain and the United States
  • Encountering a New Religion: Spanish Catholic Missionaries in the Americas
  • World War II War Brides: The Exchange of Cultures
  • Peace of Westphalia: The Exchange that Ended the Thirty Years War
  • Roanoke: When Exploration, Encounter, and Exchange Went Terribly Wrong
  • Encountering a New Society: The Idea of Republican Motherhood
  • The Sinn Féin Party and their Exploration of Irish Independence
  • The Monroe Doctrine: How Isolationism Impacted the Exploration, Encounters, and Exchanges of a New Nation
  • Gibbons v. Ogden: Steamboat Encounters and Exploration of the Commerce Clause
  • Dorothea Dix: Exploring the Injustices for Herself to Promote Institutional Reform
  • The Marshall Plan: Rebuilding Europe's Economy through Exchange
  • Exploring their Rights and Encountering Change: Women of the 1920s
  • Disproportionate Exchange: Slaves and the Triangle Trade
  • Political Exchange: Jimmy Carter and the Camp David Accords
  • The Berlin Conference: Colonization and Exploration of Africa
  • Encountering Two Worlds at the Berlin Wall
  • Zheng He: How China's Brief Period of Exploration Led to Centuries of Isolationism
  • 19th Amendment Suffragettes: Exploring New Methods of Protest