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A Spanish caravelles brought the first European adventurers and settlers to the New World depositing them on the East Florida coast. American rockets boosted space ships from the same land into another frontier, Space. Between these two events, East Florida, Cape Canaveral and the Indian River lagoon felt the impact of several waves of settlement which maintained the region's image as the most challenging of frontiers. This paper introduces the concept of the historic periods which are reflected in major environmental change. For each period the consequences on the estuary of various natural and cultural impacts are presented from geologic time to the present. Factors and trends which influence the physical and biological system of the lagoons are discussed.