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**Historical Overview of Florida**:
– Paleo-Indians entered Florida 14,000 years ago.
– Major indigenous groups in the 16th century were Apalachee, Timucua, Ais, and Calusa.
– Juan Ponce de León visited Florida in 1513, naming it ‘La Florida’.
– Spanish settlements introduced Christianity, livestock, and language.
– Florida was the first region settled by Europeans in present-day U.S.
– St. Augustine, founded in 1565, is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the U.S.
– The state has a rich colonial history shaped by diverse migrations.

**Economic and Demographic Profile**:
– Florida’s GSP is $1.4 trillion, the 4th largest in the U.S.
– Major sectors include tourism, hospitality, agriculture, real estate, and transportation.
– Popular tourist attractions include Walt Disney World and the Kennedy Space Center.
– The state attracts retirees, vacationers, migrants, and celebrities.
– Florida hosts the fastest-growing U.S. communities.

**Climate, Environment, and Geography**:
– Florida has a subtropical to tropical climate, unique ecosystems like the Everglades National Park, and the Florida Reef.
Wildlife includes alligators, flamingos, panthers, and dolphins.
– The Florida Reef is the only living coral barrier reef in the continental U.S.
– Florida is a peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, with a panhandle along the northern Gulf.
– It borders Georgia and Alabama to the north and the Gulf of Mexico to the west.

**Cultural Identity and Historical Significance**:
– Florida’s culture is influenced by African, European, Indigenous, Latino, and Asian communities.
– The state is known for golf, tennis, auto racing, and water sports.
– It has been a battleground state in American presidential elections.
– Florida played a significant role in various wars, including the Seminole Wars and the Civil War.
– The state has a rich historical significance, including the establishment of the Free and Independent Republic of West Florida.

**Statehood, Growth, and Recent Events**:
– Florida became the 27th state on March 3, 1845, initially admitted as a slave state.
– Railroads played a crucial role in Florida’s late 19th-century development.
– The state’s economy historically centered around agriculture.
– Recent events include the opening of Walt Disney World, migration from Puerto Rico post-Hurricane Maria, and high-profile mass shootings.
– Florida has seen significant population growth, becoming the most populous state in the southeastern U.S.

Florida (Wikipedia)

Florida (/ˈflɒrɪdə/ FLORR-ih-də) is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States. It borders the Gulf of Mexico to the west, Alabama to the northwest, Georgia to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Straits of Florida and Cuba to the south. About two-thirds of Florida occupies a peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. It has the longest coastline in the contiguous United States, spanning approximately 1,350 miles (2,170 km), not including its many barrier islands. It is the only state that borders both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of over 21 million, it is the third-most populous state in the United States and ranks eighth in population density as of 2020. Florida spans 65,758 square miles (170,310 km2), ranking 22nd in area among the states. The Miami metropolitan area, anchored by the cities of Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach, is the state's largest metropolitan area, with a population of 6.138 million; the most populous city is Jacksonville. Florida's other major population centers include Tampa Bay, Orlando, Cape Coral, and the state capital of Tallahassee.

Sunshine State
Anthem: "Florida" (state anthem), "Old Folks at Home" (state song)
Map of the United States with Florida highlighted
Map of the United States with Florida highlighted
CountryUnited States
Before statehoodFlorida Territory
Admitted to the UnionMarch 3, 1845; 179 years ago (1845-03-03) (27th)
Largest cityJacksonville
Largest county or equivalentMiami-Dade
Largest metro and urban areasSouth Florida
 • GovernorRon DeSantis (R)
 • Lieutenant GovernorJeanette Nuñez (R)
LegislatureFlorida Legislature
 • Upper houseSenate
 • Lower houseHouse of Representatives
JudiciarySupreme Court of Florida
U.S. senatorsMarco Rubio (R)
Rick Scott (R)
U.S. House delegation20 Republicans
8 Democrats
 • Total65,758 sq mi (170,312 km2)
 • Land53,625 sq mi (138,887 km2)
 • Water12,133 sq mi (31,424 km2)  18.5%
 • Rank22nd
 • Length447 mi (721 km)
 • Width361 mi (582 km)
100 ft (30 m)
Highest elevation345 ft (105 m)
Lowest elevation
(Atlantic Ocean)
0 ft (0 m)
 • TotalNeutral increase 22,610,726
 • Rank3rd
 • Density414.8/sq mi (160/km2)
  • Rank7th
 • Median household income
 • Income rank
Demonym(s)Floridian, Floridan
 • Official languageEnglish
 • Spoken language
Time zones
Peninsula and "Big Bend" regionUTC−05:00 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−04:00 (EDT)
Panhandle west of the Apalachicola RiverUTC−06:00 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−05:00 (CDT)
USPS abbreviation
ISO 3166 codeUS-FL
Traditional abbreviationFla.
Latitude24° 27' N to 31° 00' N
Longitude80° 02' W to 87° 38' W
State symbols of Florida
List of state symbols
Living insignia
AmphibianBarking tree frog
BirdNorthern mockingbird
FishFlorida largemouth bass, Atlantic sailfish
FlowerOrange blossom
InsectZebra longwing
MammalFlorida panther, manatee, bottlenose dolphin, Florida Cracker Horse
ReptileAmerican alligator, Loggerhead turtle, Gopher tortoise
TreeSabal palmetto
Inanimate insignia
BeverageOrange juice
FoodKey lime pie, Orange
RockAgatized coral
ShellHorse conch
State route marker
Route marker
State quarter
Florida quarter dollar coin
Released in 2004
Lists of United States state symbols

Various American Indian tribes have inhabited Florida for at least 14,000 years. In 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León became the first known European to make landfall, calling the region La Florida (land of flowers) ([la floˈɾiða]). Florida subsequently became the first area in the continental U.S. to be permanently settled by Europeans, with the settlement of St. Augustine, founded in 1565, being the oldest continuously inhabited city. Florida was a Spanish territory frequently attacked and coveted by Great Britain before Spain ceded it to the U.S. in 1819 in exchange for resolving the border dispute along the Sabine River in Spanish Texas. Florida was admitted as the 27th state on March 3, 1845, and was the principal location of the Seminole Wars (1816–1858), the longest and most extensive of the American Indian Wars. The state seceded from the Union on January 10, 1861, becoming one of the seven original Confederate States, and was readmitted to the Union after the Civil War on June 25, 1868.

Since the mid-20th century, Florida has experienced rapid demographic and economic growth. Its economy, with a gross state product (GSP) of $1.4 trillion, is the fourth largest of any U.S. state and the 16th-largest in the world; the main sectors are tourism, hospitality, agriculture, real estate, and transportation. Florida is world-renowned for its beach resorts, amusement parks, warm and sunny climate, and nautical recreation; attractions such as Walt Disney World, the Kennedy Space Center, and Miami Beach draw tens of millions of visitors annually. Florida is a popular destination for retirees, seasonal vacationers, and both domestic and international migrants; it hosts nine out of the ten fastest-growing communities in the U.S. The state's close proximity to the ocean has shaped its culture, identity, and daily life; its colonial history and successive waves of migration are reflected in African, European, Indigenous, Latino, and Asian influences. Florida has attracted or inspired some of the most prominent American writers, including Ernest Hemingway, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, and Tennessee Williams, and continues to attract celebrities and athletes, especially in golf, tennis, auto racing, and water sports. Florida has been considered a battleground state in American presidential elections, particularly those in 2000 and 2016.

Florida's climate varies from subtropical in the north to tropical in the south. It is the only state besides Hawaii to have a tropical climate, and the only continental state with both a tropical climate, located at the southern portion of the state, and a coral reef. Florida has several unique ecosystems, including Everglades National Park, the largest tropical wilderness in the U.S. and among the largest in the Americas. Unique wildlife include the American alligator, American crocodile, American flamingo, Roseate spoonbill, Florida panther, bottlenose dolphin, and manatee. The Florida Reef is the only living coral barrier reef in the continental United States, and the third-largest coral barrier reef system in the world, after the Great Barrier Reef and the Belize Barrier Reef.

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