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Florida cracker refers to original colonial-era English and American pioneer settlers of what is now the U.S. state of Florida, and their descendants. The first of these arrived in 1763 when Spain traded Florida to Great Britain.
The term "cracker" was in use during the Elizabethan era to describe braggarts. The original root of this is the Middle English word crack meaning "entertaining conversation" (One may be said to "crack" a joke); this term and the Gaelicized spelling "craic" are still in use in Northern England, Ireland and Scotland. It is documented in William Shakespeare's King John (1595): "What cracker is this ... that deafes our ears / With this abundance of superfluous breath?"
By the 1760s the English, both at home and in the American colonies, applied the term “cracker” to Scots-Irish and English American settlers of the remote southern back country, as noted in a passage from a letter to the Earl of Dartmouth: "I should explain to your Lordship what is meant by Crackers; a name they have got from being great boasters; they are a lawless set of rascalls on the frontiers of Virginia, Maryland, the Carolinas, and Georgia, who often change their places of abode." The word was later associated with the cowboys of Georgia and Florida, many of them descendants of those early frontiersmen.
In Florida, those who own or work cattle traditionally have been called cowmen. In the late 1800s they were often called cow hunters, a reference to hunting for cattle scattered over the wooded rangelands during roundups. At times the terms cowman and Cracker have been used interchangeably because of similarities in their folk culture. Today the western term "cowboy" is often used for those who work cattle. 
The Florida "cowhunter" or "cracker cowboy" of the 19th and early 20th centuries was distinct from the Spanish vaquero and the Western cowboy. Florida cowboys did not use lassos to herd or capture cattle. Their primary tools were cow whips and dogs. Florida cattle and horses were small. The "cracker cow", also known as the "native" or "scrub" cow averaged about 600 pounds (270 kg) and had large horns and large feet.
The term is used as a proud or jocular self-description. Since the huge influx of new residents into Florida from the northern parts of the United States and from Mexico and Latin America in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the term "Florida Cracker" is used informally by some Floridians to indicate that their families have lived in the state for many generations. It is considered a source of pride to be descended from "frontier people who did not just live but flourished in a time before air conditioning, mosquito repellent, and screens."