The Impact of the Plantation System on Broward County, Florida: An Expert's Perspective

Since 1989, the Broward County Department of Environmental Protection and Growth Management has been working hard to ensure that the area's resources are used in the best way. This was prompted by the construction industry's resurgence in 1976, which raised fears that the uncontrolled and often reckless growth of the past would be repeated. To prevent this, a new county charter was passed that gave the Broward government broad powers to monitor and improve the quality of life and the environment. The approval of the 1977 Land Use Plan was a major step in this direction.

The plantation system originated in the southern United States when British colonists arrived in what is now known as Virginia. In 1606, King James I created the London Virginia Company with the goal of establishing colonies in the New World. To raise money, they sold shares to investors. Jamestown was the first successful colony, but surviving in a new environment was difficult.

A severe drought had reduced food supplies for all, leading to a winter of 1609-1610 known as the famine season. Food shortages, weak leadership, and Powhatan attacks killed two out of three colonists. To encourage new settlers to go to Virginia, the London Virginia Company offered land instead of shares. Any adult male who could afford his trip to Virginia was promised 50 acres of land. They also encouraged investors to assemble a group of settlers and start a plantation far from Jamestown.

These settlements, called hundreds, were allowed greater self-government and were controlled by the director of the Virginia Company in Jamestown. One example is Berkeley Plantation, which was established in 1619 as Berkeley Hundred when Captain John Woodlief arrived with 38 colonists. The term plantation came about when settlements in the south of the United States began to revolve around agricultural production. During World War II, every airfield in Broward County became a training center, and one of them became the future headquarters of Broward College's central campus in Davie. The city's name comes from Everglades Plantation Company co-owner Edward J. Jennings' unsuccessful attempts to establish a rice plantation in the area.

After his election in 1905, Jennings' successor Napoleon Bonaparte Broward continued Jennings' initiative to completely drain the Everglades (which was a central theme of his election campaign). Two decades later, in 1915, Broward County was established. Since then, Broward County and its municipalities have realized that some past land use decisions have caused transportation problems. Plantation has one of the lowest utilization rates in Broward County and a form of government with a strong mayor who is committed to quality remodeling and stabilizing neighborhoods through world-class recreational facilities. During America's bicentennial celebration in 1976, a 45-foot oak tree was planted in Fifth Street Park in Plantation to represent the Tree of Liberty. In keeping with Frederick Peters' original master plan, Plantation retains its original hometown charm while offering all the amenities of a big city but with the security of a smaller community.

The Broward Everglades Task Force was created by the Broward County Division of Natural Resource Planning and Management and South Florida Water Management District. The NaturEscape Irrigation Service (NIS) is offered by Broward County's Division of Planning and Natural Resources Management in collaboration with 18 municipal and water service partners and its Division of Water and Wastewater Services. From March to October each year, Broward County's beaches are used by threatened and endangered sea turtles for an important part of their life history. The plantation system has had an immense impact on Broward County's environment. It has shaped land use decisions that have caused transportation problems today. It has also led to world-class recreational facilities that offer an alternative to city center congestion while preserving Plantation's original hometown charm.

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