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Florida Facts

Florida Facts

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Location and Geography: The entire state of Florida is more or less a giant peninsula extending from the southeastern portion of the United States. It is known for its unique wildlife and its delicate but beautiful environment of wetlands and coastlines. It is perhaps the wettest of the states, being mostly surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, with much of its land area being swamps and marshes.

Counties and Regions: Florida has 67 counties, but is best known for its coasts and wetlands. Because Florida is mostly a peninsula, there are many distinct coastal areas, such as:
  • First Coast
  • Emerald Coast
  • Fun Coast
  • Nature Coast
  • Space Coast
  • Suncoast
  • Gold Coast
  • Southwest Florida
  • Treasure Coast
  • Some of the other recognizable regions of Florida are as follows:
  • Big Bend
  • Central Florida
  • Everglades
  • South Florida Metro Area
  • Tampa Bay Metro Area
  • Florida Heartland
  • Florida Keys (islands)
  • Florida Panhandle
  • North Central Florida

Major Cities: Florida has several large metropolitan areas, the largest being that of Miami, followed by the Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville metropolitan areas. Each of these metro areas has more than five hundred thousand people living within it (and the Miami area has a population approaching five million). The state capital, Tallahassee, is much smaller in comparison, with about two hundred thousand people living in or near it.

Population: Since the invention of air conditioning, the population of Florida has skyrocketed. It is a popular destination for retirees and immigrants, and today the majority of Florida’s people were actually born elsewhere. Florida has more people living in it than any other state except for California, Texas, and New York, with a population that is beginning to approach nineteen million people.

Story Behind the Name: “Florida” means “flowery” in the Spanish language. According to records of the time, sixteenth-century Spanish explorer Ponce de León referred to the newly discovered peninsula as “La Florida” because he was celebrating the Easter season, and the spring flowers were in bloom.

History and Colonization: Florida was colonized by Europeans early on, being the first part of the present-day United States to be discovered by explorers (according to verified records). The Spanish
founded several colonies and missions there, but these faced great difficulty due to powerful native tribes and destructive weather. The British and the French founded competing colonies in the region, and Florida became something of a mixing pot for various ethnicities and cultures as the European settlers, the native tribes, and communities of escaped African-American slaves all began to interact. Even today, Florida is known for being a cultural blend of many different traditions.

The territory of Florida changed hands a few times before Spain signed it over to the United States in 1819 (it would not be admitted as a state until 1845). The nineteenth century in Florida was marked by conflict between American settlers and the native Seminole population, with many battles being fought between the two over the course of what would be known as the Seminole Wars. Florida was the site of one of the United State's most aggressive “Indian removal” campaigns, eventually resulting in the majority of the Seminoles being relocated in the West. Some were able to maintain their homes deep within the Everglades, but by the mid-nineteenth century, the majority of people living in Florida were white settlers and their African-descended slaves.

The Southern plantation culture was strong in Florida, and the state was one of the founders of the Confederate States of America at the start of the American Civil War. Even after the war, racial violence was common in Florida, and many people migrated away from the state (oppressive weather was also making it an undesirable place to live). There was a brief resurgence in prosperity during the 1920s, but Florida’s population did not begin booming until the onset of World War II, when its low land prices attracted many new immigrants from other parts of the United States. Florida is now surprisingly well-populated for a marshy and hurricane-prone area, having the fourth-largest population in the country. The state emerged as a desirable tourist destination in the mid-twentieth century, now playing host to many world-famous amusement parks (most notably Disney World in the city of Orlando). The Florida Everglades, a huge wetland in the southern part of the state, is also one of America’s most treasured natural areas, although it is quite vulnerable to environmental damage. Overall, Florida is a prosperous and unique state, home to a unique mix of human cultures and natural forces.

More Florida Facts & Trivia


1.Greater Miami is the sole metropolitan area in USA whose borders include two national parks - Biscayne National Park and Everglades National Park.

2.Sunshine Skyway Bridge opened in 1987 and is 190 feet above the water.

3.In North America Saint Augustine has the oldest settlement by Europeans.

4.80% of the sweet Atlantic white shrimp eaten in Florida is grown in Amelia Island.

5.Punta Gorda means fat point in Spanish. The city was given this name because a major chunk of the land cuts into Charlotte Harbor.

6.The vegetation at Fakahatchee Strand in Everglades filters and cleans the flowing water, stops flooding after heavy rains and is an important habitat for plant and animal life.



7.Among amusement park destinations in USA, Orlando draws most visitors.

8.DeFuniak Springs has a naturally round lake - one of the two in world.

9.Rollins College, which is the oldest college in Florida, was established in 1885 in Winter Park by New England Congregationalists.

10.The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens located at Delray Beach is the only US museum that is devoted solely to Japanese culture.

11.Cape Canaveral serves one of the most important space flight launch pad in USA.

12.Fort Lauderdale is also called Venice of America as it has 185 miles of waterways.

13.Florida is not the southernmost US state.

14.In Polk County, Fort Meade is the oldest settlement.

15.A museum at Senibel possesses 2 million shells and is admittedly the only museum that is dedicated to mollusks.

16.The Fred Bear Museum of Gainesville pays tribute to Fred Bear, founder of Bear Archery Company and promoter of wildlife management.

17.The Benwood, located on French Reef in Florida Keys, is one of most popular shipwrecks for divers.

18.A part of Rails to Trails program of Florida, Hawthorne Trail draws a number of outdoor enthusiasts.

19.Safety Harbor is home to the historic Espiritu Santo Springs, a name given in 1539 by Hernando De Soto, a Spanish explorer.

20.Baseball City Stadium lies to the north of Haines City, known as the Heart of Florida.

21.Niceville stages the well known Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival on the third weekend of October.

22.The name of Hypoluxo City has been derived from a Seminole expression.

23.Clearwater has the most lightning strikes per capita among US cities.

24.Islamorada is known as the global sports fishing capital.

25.Gatorade was named after University of Florida Gators, which is where it was developed.

26.Key Largo is billed as the global diving capital.

27.Tony Jannus flew the first ever scheduled passenger flight to Tampa from St. Petersburg on 1st January 1914.

28.Marathon houses the historic - Crane Point Hammock that has proof of prehistoric Bahamian and pre Colombian artifacts.

29.Mechanical refrigeration was invented in 1851 by Dr. John Gorrie from Apalachicola.

30.Fort Zachary Taylor was controlled by the Union during the Civil War. It was used later in Spanish-American War and the World Wars.

31.In 1944 Benjamin Green, a pharmacist from Miami Beach, came up with the first ever suntan cream.

32.Built in 1763 Old Kings Road is the original graded road and was named after King George of England.

33.The first ever Snapper riding lawnmower was invented by Neil and Montverde Smith.

34.Jacksonville was the busiest military port in USA during the 1991 Gulf War.

35.Key West experiences the maximum average temperature in Florida.

36.At the time of its completion in 1989 the Dame Point Bridge was the tallest cable stayed structure in USA.

37.Saint John's River is among the few rivers that flow north.

38.Annual Mug Race is the longest river sailboat race of the world, stretching for 42 miles to Jacksonville from Palatka beside the St. Johns River.

39.Lake Okeechobee is the biggest of its kind in Florida.

40.The Olustee Battlefield State Historic Site marks the biggest battle fought in Florida at the time of American Civil War.

41.On 20th May 1970 a bill to adopt moonstone as the official state gem was signed and sent to the Governor by Florida legislators.

42.Venice, Florida is billed as the global shark tooth capital.

43.The American Alligator was designated as the official state reptile in 1987 by Florida legislature.

44.The Florida Museum of Hispanic and Latin American Art in Coral Gables is the first and only US museum devoted to maintenance and promotion of Latin and Spanish American art.

45.The first ATM especially for Rollerblades was installed in Miami.

46.The 47 mile long Pinellas Trail is the longest urban linear trail of eastern US.

47.Once known as the Global Cigar Capital, almost 12,000 tobacco makers worked in 200 factories in Ybor City.

48.Also billed as Space City Titusville is on the western shore of Indian River directly across the John F Kennedy Space Center.

49.The Global Winter Strawberry Capital, Plant City, has the Guinness record for the largest strawberry shortcake of world.

50.Florida is the sole American state that has two rivers with identical names - Withlacoochee.