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The base was vital to the allied war effort, as it provided an excellent training facility and had unparalleled access to North Africa for a North American city.
Most settlers engaged in the growing of tropical fruits and vegetables for shipment the north via Lake Worth and the Indian River. The area at this time also boasted a hotel, the "Cocoanut House", a church, and a post office.The beginning of the historic period in south Florida is marked by Juan Ponce de León's first contact with native people in 1513.Europeans found a thriving native population, which they categorized into separate tribes: the Mayaimi in the Lake Okeechobee Basin and the Jaega and Ais people in the East Okeechobee area and on the east coast north of the Tequesta.The area that was to become West Palm Beach was settled in the late 1870s and 1880s by a few hundred settlers who called the vicinity "Lake Worth Country." These settlers were a diverse community from different parts of the United States and the world.They included founding families such at the Potters and the Lainharts, who would go on to become leading members of the business community in the fledgling city.