State Facts

Geographical Facts

  • Total Area: 58,560 square miles
  • Total land area: 54,136 square miles
  • Total water area: 4,424 square miles
  • Rank among states in total area: 22nd
  • Length north and south: 447 miles (St. Marys River to Key West)
  • Width east and west: 361 miles (Atlantic Ocean to Perdido River)
  • Distance from Pensacola to Key West: 792 miles (by road)
  • Highest Natural Point: 345 feet (Britton Hill)
  • Geographic Center: 12 miles northwest of Brooksville, Hernando County
  • Coastline: 1,197 statute miles
  • Tidal shoreline (general): 2,276 statute miles
  • Beaches: 663 miles
  • Longest River: St. Johns, 273 miles
  • Largest Lake: Lake Okeechobee, 700 square miles
  • Largest county: Palm Beach, 2,578 square miles
  • Smallest county: Union, 245 square miles
  • Number of first-magnitude springs: 33

Population Facts

  • Population 2012 (estimate): 19,317,568
  • Population 2000: 15,982,378 (Rank 4th)
  • Population 1990: 12,937,926
  • Population 1980: 9,739,992
  • Most populous metropolitan area 2008 (estimate): South Florida metropolitan area (Miami/Ft. Lauderdale/West Palm Beach): 5,414,772
  • Most populous County 2008 (estimate): Miami-Dade County: 2,398,245
  • Most populous City 2008 (estimate): Jacksonville: 807,815

Government Facts

  • Capitol: Tallahassee (est. 1823)
  • Executive: Governor and cabinet consisting of Attorney General, Chief Financial Officer, and Commissioner of Agriculture
  • Legislature: 120 House districts, 40 Senate districts
  • Judicial: Florida Supreme Court, district courts of appeal, circuit courts, and county courts
  • Congressional Districts: 27
  • Counties: 67
    Executive Branch
  • Governor: Rick Scott (R)
  • Lt. Governor: Carlos Lopez-Cantera (R)
  • Attorney General: Pam Bondi (R)
  • Chief Financial Officer: Jeff Atwater (R)
  • Commission of Agriculture: Adam Putnum (R)
    Florida Supreme Court
  • Chief Justice: Ricky Polston
  • Associate Justices: Charles T. Canady, Jorge Labarga, R. Fred Lewis, Barbara J. Pariente, James E.C. Perry, Peggy A. Quince
    Legislative Leaders
  • House Speaker: Steve Crisafulli (R)
  • Senate President: Andy Gardiner (R)

History

  • 1513: Spanish explorer Ponce De Leon and his expedition were the first documented Europeans to land on the Florida peninsula. He landed on the East Coast, near present-day St. Augustine. Ponce De Leon named the peninsula "Florida" as the season was "Pascua Florida" (Flowery Easter).
  • 1559: Tristan de Luna y Arellano, with 1500 participants, attempted Florida's first European settlement at Pensacola. By 1561, a series of misfortunes resulted in the abandonment of the settlement. Pensacola would be re-settled in 1667.
  • 1564: French settlers establish Fort Caroline.
  • 1565: Spain established St. Augustine, the first permanent European settlement in North America.
  • 1738: Free black settlement, Fort Mose, established.
  • 1763: The end of the French and Indian (Seven Years War) results in the transfer of Florida from Spain to England. The colony was divided into East and West Florida.
  • 1760s: By this time, Native peoples from Georgia and Alabama, most members of the Creek peoples, were moving into Florida. Eventually called the Seminoles from the Spanish word cimarron, meaning "outsiders" or "runaways".
  • 1783: Treaty of Paris ended the American Revolution. The treaty returns Florida to Spain.
  • 1816-1817: The First Seminole War. The war starts when Andrew Jackson invades Florida.
  • 1821: Florida becomes a US Territory, with Andrew Jackson as its first military governor.
  • 1823: Tallahassee established as Florida capital.
  • 1835-1842: The Second Seminole War. The war ended by U.S. Government decision, without treaty or capitulation.
  • 1845: The Act establishing statehood for Iowa and Florida was approved on March 3, 1845 by the second session of the 28th Congress.
  • 1855-1858: Third Seminole War.
  • 1861: Florida seceded from the United States.
  • 1868: Florida readmitted to the Union.
  • 1876: Florida's first Presidential election crisis. Florida is one of three states with disputed elector votes.
  • 1905: The Buckman Act creates the State University System. The three colleges are the University of Florida, the Florida State College for Women, and the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College for Negroes.
  • 1936: Cypress Gardens opens in Winter Haven.
  • 1947: Everglades National Park established.
  • 1971: Walt Disney World opens in Orlando; transforms Florida's economy and surrounding Central Florida.
  • 1972: The 1972 Miami Dolphins play a perfect season, winning every game they played that year, including the Super Bowl.
  • 1981: The first space shuttle launches at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral.
  • 2000: Florida's second Presidential election crisis. Votting ballots are the focus.