Florida Facts

Florida

Introduction

The sunshine state of Florida is the third largest state in the U.S. and is situated in the southeastern part of the country. Its name comes from "Floris Viscounts," who was granted to Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon for his brave efforts during his explorations. It comprises over 100 counties, and has a population that exceeds 21 million people after Texas and California. It has a subtropical climate with hot humid summers, mild winters. The state has a thriving economy, and attracts tourists from all around the world every year; and furthermore, there is no state income tax. The current governor of Florida is Ronald Dion DeSantis as of January 8, 2019.


QUICK FACTS ABOUT FLORIDA
  • Capital City: Tallahassee
  • Largest City: Jacksonville
  • Nickname: The Sunshine State
  • Statehood: March 3, 1845; 27th state
  • Population (as of 2020): 21,538,187
  • Abbreviation: FL
  • State bird: mockingbird
  • State flower: orange blossom
  • Total Size Of The State: 65,758 sq mi (170,312 km2)

  • Alabama

    Historical Background

    Over 12,000 years ago, the first people settled in what is now Florida. Their main source of food was hunting and gathering wild plants. A number of Native American tribes lived in the area over the centuries, including the Timucua, Apalachee, Calusa, and Creek.

    In 1513, Spanish conquistador Ponce de León sailed to Florida in search of gold and silver. Despite not finding it, he discovered fertile farmland and a lot of coastlines-perfect for shipping. The British, French, and Spanish all attempted to establish settlements in Florida. The British took control of Florida from Spain in 1763 in exchange for the land that is now Havana, Cuba. A mere two decades later, as part of the peace treaty that ended the Revolutionary War, Spain took control again. Eventually, new settlers flooded in, and in 1821, Spain ceded Florida to the United States in exchange for Texas. In 1845, Florida became the 27th state.

    Florida is still home to Native Americans known as Seminoles. Their ancestors came from a combination of tribes who fled the conflict with Europeans and with other tribes in the 1700s.


    Why Does It Have That Name?

  • Florida's original Spanish name is La Florida, which means "place of flowers." Some historians think Ponce de León chose the name to honor the flowers he saw growing there, or as an homage to Spain's Easter celebration known as Pascua Florida, or "Feast of Flowers."

  • Geographic Features and Landforms

  • Florida is surrounded almost entirely by water because it is a peninsula. Georgia is located in the northeast and Alabama is in the northwest of the state. You can swim in the Gulf of Mexico off Florida's west coast.
  • With over 1.5 million acres of marshland, the Everglades National Park in the south offers canoeing through swamps and wildlife. Located off the southernmost tip of the state are the Florida Keys, a group of about 1,700 tiny islands known as an archipelago. Interested in island hopping? Not a problem. The various keys are connected by causeways and 42 bridges.

  • The Natural World

    Among Florida's wildlife are armadillos, black bears, and the Florida panther; reptiles such as alligators, crocodiles, and snakes; sea life such as manatees, sea turtles, dolphins, and whales; and birds such as owls, cranes, and Florida's state bird, the mockingbird. There are more than 300 species of native trees in the state, ranging from apple and cherry trees in the north to mangrove forests in the swamps. A common sight in marshes is tall sawgrass, though Florida's most famous plant is the orange tree, whose blossom is the state flower.


    Natural Resources

    Ponce de León is widely believed to have been the first to plant orange seeds in Florida. New railroads enabled growers to ship oranges across the country three centuries later. Today, most orange juice sold in the country is produced in this state.

    Florida is also known for its sugarcane, fish, petroleum, and phosphate (used for fertilizer).


    Some Fun Facts About Florida

  • Florida can be a wonderful vacation destination thanks to its 663-mile coastline and, of course... Disney World. More than 62,000 people a day visit the 40-square-mile park in Orlando, which employs more than 60,000 people.
  • There are even times when the state can take you out of this world... literally! A rocket launch can be seen from Cape Canaveral, where rockets have taken off since 1950.
  • There's more to Florida than just a great tourist destination. Many people have made Florida their home. Ernest Hemingway made Key West his home. Zora Neale Hurston lived here, a member of the Harlem Renaissance, author of Their Eyes Were Watching God and collector and publisher of African-American and Afro-Caribbean folklore. Also born in Florida are singer Ariana Grande and former Attorney General Janet Reno.