Florida, Straits of

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FLORIDA, STRAITS OF, also called the New Bahama Channel and the Gulf of Florida, connect the Gulf of Mexico with the Atlantic Ocean and separate Florida from Cuba. Through them flows a part of the Gulf Stream, past the Great Bahama and Little Bahama banks. The total length of the straits exceeds 300 miles. The width varies from 60 to 100 miles. The main channel has been sounded to a depth of 6,000 feet. Traffic through the straits, beginning with the passage of Spanish treasure fleets, has always been heavy and significant. Until early in the nineteenth century, this region was also a site of extensive piracy.


Buker, George E. Blockaders, Refugees, and Contrabands: Civil War on Florida's Gulf Coast, 18611865. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1993.

A. J. Hanna / h. s.

See also Mexico, Gulf of ; Piracy .