Florida

Florida

Overview
Florida is a state
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

 in the southeastern
Southeastern United States
The Southeastern United States, colloquially referred to as the Southeast, is the eastern portion of the Southern United States. It is one of the most populous regions in the United States of America....

 United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, located on the nation's Atlantic
East Coast of the United States
The East Coast of the United States, also known as the Eastern Seaboard, refers to the easternmost coastal states in the United States, which touch the Atlantic Ocean and stretch up to Canada. The term includes the U.S...

 and Gulf
Gulf Coast of the United States
The Gulf Coast of the United States, sometimes referred to as the Gulf South, South Coast, or 3rd Coast, comprises the coasts of American states that are on the Gulf of Mexico, which includes Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida and are known as the Gulf States...

 coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

, to the north by Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

 and Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

 and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it is the fourth most populous state in the country. With an area of 65755 square miles (170,305 km²), Florida ranks 22nd in size among the 50 U.S.
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Florida is a state
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

 in the southeastern
Southeastern United States
The Southeastern United States, colloquially referred to as the Southeast, is the eastern portion of the Southern United States. It is one of the most populous regions in the United States of America....

 United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, located on the nation's Atlantic
East Coast of the United States
The East Coast of the United States, also known as the Eastern Seaboard, refers to the easternmost coastal states in the United States, which touch the Atlantic Ocean and stretch up to Canada. The term includes the U.S...

 and Gulf
Gulf Coast of the United States
The Gulf Coast of the United States, sometimes referred to as the Gulf South, South Coast, or 3rd Coast, comprises the coasts of American states that are on the Gulf of Mexico, which includes Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida and are known as the Gulf States...

 coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

, to the north by Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

 and Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

 and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it is the fourth most populous state in the country. With an area of 65755 square miles (170,305 km²), Florida ranks 22nd in size among the 50 U.S. states. The state capital is Tallahassee
Tallahassee, Florida
Tallahassee is the capital of the U.S. state of Florida. It is the county seat and only incorporated municipality in Leon County, and is the 128th largest city in the United States. Tallahassee became the capital of Florida, then the Florida Territory, in 1824. In 2010, the population recorded by...

, its largest city is Jacksonville
Jacksonville, Florida
Jacksonville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Florida in terms of both population and land area, and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. It is the county seat of Duval County, with which the city government consolidated in 1968...

, and the South Florida metropolitan area
South Florida metropolitan area
The South Florida metropolitan area, also known as the Miami metropolitan area, and designated the Miami–Fort Lauderdale–Pompano Beach, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area by the U.S...

 is the largest metropolitan area in the southeastern U.S.

Much of Florida is situated on a peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Straits of Florida
Straits of Florida
The Straits of Florida, Florida Straits, or Florida Strait is a strait located south-southeast of the North American mainland, generally accepted to be between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, and between the Florida Keys and Cuba. The strait carries the Florida Current, the beginning of...

. Its geography is marked by a coastline, by the omnipresence of water and the threat of hurricanes. Florida has the longest coastline in the contiguous United States
Contiguous United States
The contiguous United States are the 48 U.S. states on the continent of North America that are south of Canada and north of Mexico, plus the District of Columbia....

, encompassing approximately 1350 miles (2,172.6 km), and is the only state to border both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Much of the state is at or near sea level
Sea level
Mean sea level is a measure of the average height of the ocean's surface ; used as a standard in reckoning land elevation...

 and its terrain is characterized by sedimentary soils. The climate varies from subtropical in the north to tropical in the south. Its symbolic animals like the American alligator
American Alligator
The American alligator , sometimes referred to colloquially as a gator, is a reptile endemic only to the Southeastern United States. It is one of the two living species of alligator, in the genus Alligator, within the family Alligatoridae...

, Florida panther
Florida Panther
The Florida panther is an endangered subspecies of cougar that lives in forests and swamps of southern Florida in the United States. Its current taxonomic status is unresolved, but recent genetic research alone does not alter the legal conservation status...

 and the manatee
Manatee
Manatees are large, fully aquatic, mostly herbivorous marine mammals sometimes known as sea cows...

, can be found in the Everglades
Everglades
The Everglades are subtropical wetlands in the southern portion of the U.S. state of Florida, comprising the southern half of a large watershed. The system begins near Orlando with the Kissimmee River, which discharges into the vast but shallow Lake Okeechobee...

, one of the most famous national parks in the world.

Since the first Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an contact was made in 1513 by Spanish
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 explorer Juan Ponce de León
Juan Ponce de León
Juan Ponce de León was a Spanish explorer. He became the first Governor of Puerto Rico by appointment of the Spanish crown. He led the first European expedition to Florida, which he named...

 – who named it La Florida ("Flowery Land") upon landing there during the Easter
Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...

 season, Pascua Florida
Pascua Florida
Pascua Florida is a Spanish term that means flowery festival or feast of flowers. It usually refers to the Easter season. ....

– Florida was a challenge for the European colonial powers before it gained statehood in the United States in 1845. It was a principal location of the Seminole Wars
Seminole Wars
The Seminole Wars, also known as the Florida Wars, were three conflicts in Florida between the Seminole — the collective name given to the amalgamation of various groups of native Americans and Black people who settled in Florida in the early 18th century — and the United States Army...

 against the Indians
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

, and racial segregation after the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. Today, it is distinguished by its large Hispanic
Hispanic
Hispanic is a term that originally denoted a relationship to Hispania, which is to say the Iberian Peninsula: Andorra, Gibraltar, Portugal and Spain. During the Modern Era, Hispanic sometimes takes on a more limited meaning, particularly in the United States, where the term means a person of ...

 community, and high population growth, as well as its rising environmental concerns. Its economy relies mainly on tourism, agriculture and transportation
Transportation in Florida
The State of Florida is served by a variety of transportation options, including Interstate Highways, United States and Florida State Roads, Amtrak and commuter rail services, scheduled passenger airline service and other airports, public transportation, and ports, in a number of the state's...

, which developed in the late 19th century. Florida is also known for its amusement park
Amusement park
thumb|Cinderella Castle in [[Magic Kingdom]], [[Disney World]]Amusement and theme parks are terms for a group of entertainment attractions and rides and other events in a location for the enjoyment of large numbers of people...

s, the production of oranges
Orange (fruit)
An orange—specifically, the sweet orange—is the citrus Citrus × sinensis and its fruit. It is the most commonly grown tree fruit in the world....

 and the Kennedy Space Center
Kennedy Space Center
The John F. Kennedy Space Center is the NASA installation that has been the launch site for every United States human space flight since 1968. Although such flights are currently on hiatus, KSC continues to manage and operate unmanned rocket launch facilities for America's civilian space program...

.

Florida culture
Culture of Florida
The culture of Florida is similar to the rest of United States of America culture but as a coastal state, Florida culture has been influenced by immigrant populations especially those from Latin America and Europe. Florida is a melting pot as well as an international crossroad to the United...

 is a reflection of influences and multiple inheritance; Native American
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

, European American
European American
A European American is a citizen or resident of the United States who has origins in any of the original peoples of Europe...

, African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

 and Hispanic
Hispanic and Latino Americans
Hispanic or Latino Americans are Americans with origins in the Hispanic countries of Latin America or in Spain, and in general all persons in the United States who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino.1990 Census of Population and Housing: A self-designated classification for people whose origins...

 heritages can be found in the architecture and cuisine. Florida has attracted many writers such as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was an American author who lived in rural Florida and wrote novels with rural themes and settings. Her best known work, The Yearling, about a boy who adopts an orphaned fawn, won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1939 and was later made into a movie, also known as The...

, Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American author and journalist. His economic and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the...

 and Tennessee Williams
Tennessee Williams
Thomas Lanier "Tennessee" Williams III was an American writer who worked principally as a playwright in the American theater. He also wrote short stories, novels, poetry, essays, screenplays and a volume of memoirs...

, and continues to attract celebrities and athletes. It is internationally known for tennis
Tennis
Tennis is a sport usually played between two players or between two teams of two players each . Each player uses a racket that is strung to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent's court. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society at all...

, golf
Golf
Golf is a precision club and ball sport, in which competing players use many types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a golf course using the fewest number of strokes....

, auto racing
Auto racing
Auto racing is a motorsport involving the racing of cars for competition. It is one of the world's most watched televised sports.-The beginning of racing:...

 and water sports.

History



Archaeological research indicates that Florida was first inhabited by Paleo-Indians, the first human inhabitants of the Americas, perhaps as early as 14 thousand years ago. The region was continuously inhabited through the Archaic period (to about 2000 BC). After about 500 BC the previously relatively uniform Archaic culture began to coalesce into distinctive local cultures. By the 16th century, the earliest time for which there is a historical record, major Native American
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 groups included the Apalachee
Apalachee
The Apalachee are a Native American people who historically lived in the Florida Panhandle, and now live primarily in the U.S. state of Louisiana. Their historical territory was known to the Spanish colonists as the Apalachee Province...

 (of the Florida Panhandle
Florida Panhandle
The Florida Panhandle, an informal, unofficial term for the northwestern part of Florida, is a strip of land roughly 200 miles long and 50 to 100 miles wide , lying between Alabama on the north and the west, Georgia also on the north, and the Gulf of Mexico to the south. Its eastern boundary is...

), the Timucua
Timucua
The Timucua were a Native American people who lived in Northeast and North Central Florida and southeast Georgia. They were the largest indigenous group in that area and consisted of about 35 chiefdoms, many leading thousands of people. The various groups of Timucua spoke several dialects of the...

 (of northern and central Florida), the Ais
Ais (tribe)
The Ais, or Ays were a tribe of Native Americans who inhabited the Atlantic Coast of Florida. They ranged from present day Cape Canaveral to the St. Lucie Inlet, in the present day counties of Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie and northernmost Martin...

 (of the central Atlantic coast), the Tocobaga
Tocobaga
Tocobaga was the name of a chiefdom, its chief and its principal town during the 16th century in the area of Tampa Bay. The town was at the northern end of what is now called Old Tampa Bay, an arm of Tampa Bay that extends northward between the present-day city of Tampa and Pinellas County...

 (of the Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay is a large natural harbor and estuary along the Gulf of Mexico on the west central coast of Florida, comprising Hillsborough Bay, Old Tampa Bay, Middle Tampa Bay, and Lower Tampa Bay."Tampa Bay" is not the name of any municipality...

 area), the Calusa
Calusa
The Calusa were a Native American people who lived on the coast and along the inner waterways of Florida's southwest coast. Calusa society developed from that of archaic peoples of the Everglades region; at the time of European contact, the Calusa were the people of the Caloosahatchee culture...

 (of southwest Florida) and the Tequesta
Tequesta
The Tequesta Native American tribe, at the time of first European contact, occupied an area along the southeastern Atlantic coast of Florida...

 (of the southeastern coast).

Florida was the first part of what is now the continental United States to be visited by Europeans. The earliest known European explorers came with the Spanish conquistador
Conquistador
Conquistadors were Spanish soldiers, explorers, and adventurers who brought much of the Americas under the control of Spain in the 15th to 16th centuries, following Europe's discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492...

 Juan Ponce de León
Juan Ponce de León
Juan Ponce de León was a Spanish explorer. He became the first Governor of Puerto Rico by appointment of the Spanish crown. He led the first European expedition to Florida, which he named...

, who spotted the peninsula on April 2, 1513. According to his chroniclers, Ponce de León named the region La Florida ("flowery land") because it was then the Easter Season, known in Spanish as Pascua Florida
Pascua Florida
Pascua Florida is a Spanish term that means flowery festival or feast of flowers. It usually refers to the Easter season. ....

(roughly "Flowery Easter
Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...

"), and because the vegetation was in bloom. It is possible Juan Ponce de León was not the first European to reach Florida, however; reportedly, at least one indigenous tribesman whom he encountered in Florida in 1513 spoke Spanish. From 1513 onward, the land became known as "La Florida", although after 1630 and throughout the 18th century, Tegesta (after the Tequesta
Tequesta
The Tequesta Native American tribe, at the time of first European contact, occupied an area along the southeastern Atlantic coast of Florida...

 tribe) was an alternate name of choice for the Florida peninsula following publication of a map by the Dutch cartographer Hessel Gerritsz
Hessel Gerritsz
Hessel Gerritsz was a Dutch engraver, cartographer and publisher. Despite strong competition, he is considered by some “unquestionably the chief Dutch cartographer of the 17th century”...

 in Joannes de Laet
Joannes de Laet
Joannes or Johannes de Laet was a Dutch geographer and director of the Dutch West India Company. Philip Burden called his History of the New World, "...arguably the finest description of the Americas published in the seventeenth century" and "...one of the foundation maps of Canada"...

's History of the New World.

Over the following century, both the Spanish and French established settlements in Florida with varying degrees of success. In 1559, Don Tristán de Luna y Arellano
Tristán de Luna y Arellano
Tristán de Luna y Arellano was a Spanish Conquistador of the 16th century. Born in Borobia, Spain, he came to New Spain in about 1530, and was sent on an expedition to conquer Florida in 1559...

 established a colony at present-day Pensacola
Pensacola, Florida
Pensacola is the westernmost city in the Florida Panhandle and the county seat of Escambia County, Florida, United States of America. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 56,255 and as of 2009, the estimated population was 53,752...

, one of the first European attempts at settlement in the continental United States. It was abandoned by 1561 due to hurricanes, famine and warring tribes, and the area was not re-inhabited until the 1690s. French Protestant Huguenots founded Fort Caroline
Fort Caroline
Fort Caroline was the first French colony in the present-day United States. Established in what is now Jacksonville, Florida, on June 22, 1564, under the leadership of René Goulaine de Laudonnière, it was intended as a refuge for the Huguenots. It lasted one year before being obliterated by the...

 in modern-day Jacksonville in 1564. The following year, the Spanish colony of St. Augustine
St. Augustine, Florida
St. Augustine is a city in the northeast section of Florida and the county seat of St. Johns County, Florida, United States. Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorer and admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, it is the oldest continuously occupied European-established city and port in the continental United...

 (San Agustín) was established, and forces from there conquered Fort Caroline that same year. The Spanish maintained tenuous control over the region by converting the local tribes, briefly with Jesuits
Society of Jesus
The Society of Jesus is a Catholic male religious order that follows the teachings of the Catholic Church. The members are called Jesuits, and are also known colloquially as "God's Army" and as "The Company," these being references to founder Ignatius of Loyola's military background and a...

 and later with Franciscan
Franciscan
Most Franciscans are members of Roman Catholic religious orders founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Besides Roman Catholic communities, there are also Old Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, ecumenical and Non-denominational Franciscan communities....

 friars.

The area of Spanish Florida diminished with the establishment of English colonies to the north and French colonies to the west. The English weakened Spanish power in the area by supplying their Creek
Creek people
The Muscogee , also known as the Creek or Creeks, are a Native American people traditionally from the southeastern United States. Mvskoke is their name in traditional spelling. The modern Muscogee live primarily in Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida...

 and Yamasee
Yamasee
The Yamasee were a multiethnic confederation of Native Americans that lived in the coastal region of present-day northern coastal Georgia near the Savannah River and later in northeastern Florida.-History:...

 allies with firearms and urging them to raid the Timucuan and Apalachee client-tribes of the Spanish. The English attacked St. Augustine, burning the city and its cathedral to the ground several times, while the citizens hid behind the walls of the Castillo de San Marcos
Castillo de San Marcos
The Castillo de San Marcos site is the oldest masonry fort in the United States. It is located in the city of St. Augustine, Florida. Construction was begun in 1672 by the Spanish when Florida was a Spanish territory. During the twenty year period of British possession from 1763 until 1784, the...

.


Florida was attracting a large number of Africans and African Americans from British-occupied North America who sought freedom from slavery. Once in Florida, the Spanish Crown converted them to Roman Catholicism and gave them freedom. Those ex-slaves settled in a community north of St. Augustine, called Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose
Fort Mose Historic State Park
Fort Mose Historic State Park is a U.S. National Historic Landmark , located two miles north of St. Augustine, Florida, on the eastern edge of a marsh. It is also a Florida State Park...

, the first freedom settlement of its kind in what became the United States. Many of those slaves were also welcomed by Creek and Seminole Native Americans who had established settlements there at the invitation of the Spanish government.

Great Britain gained control of Florida and other territory diplomatically in 1763 through the Peace of Paris
Treaty of Paris (1763)
The Treaty of Paris, often called the Peace of Paris, or the Treaty of 1763, was signed on 10 February 1763, by the kingdoms of Great Britain, France and Spain, with Portugal in agreement. It ended the French and Indian War/Seven Years' War...

. The British divided their new acquisitions into East Florida
East Florida
East Florida was a colony of Great Britain from 1763–1783 and of Spain from 1783–1822. East Florida was established by the British colonial government in 1763; as its name implies it consisted of the eastern part of the region of Florida, with West Florida comprising the western parts. Its capital...

, with its capital at St. Augustine, and West Florida
West Florida
West Florida was a region on the north shore of the Gulf of Mexico, which underwent several boundary and sovereignty changes during its history. West Florida was first established in 1763 by the British government; as its name suggests it largely consisted of the western portion of the region...

, with its capital at Pensacola. Britain tried to develop the Floridas through the importation of immigrants for labor, but this project ultimately failed. Spain received both Floridas after Britain's defeat by the American colonies and the subsequent Treaty of Versailles in 1783, continuing the division into East and West Florida. They offered land grants to anyone who settled in the colonies, and many Americans moved to them.

After settler attacks on Indian towns, Seminole
Seminole
The Seminole are a Native American people originally of Florida, who now reside primarily in that state and Oklahoma. The Seminole nation emerged in a process of ethnogenesis out of groups of Native Americans, most significantly Creeks from what is now Georgia and Alabama, who settled in Florida in...

 Indians based in East Florida
East Florida
East Florida was a colony of Great Britain from 1763–1783 and of Spain from 1783–1822. East Florida was established by the British colonial government in 1763; as its name implies it consisted of the eastern part of the region of Florida, with West Florida comprising the western parts. Its capital...

 began raiding Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

 settlements, purportedly at the behest of the Spanish. The United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 led increasingly frequent incursions into Spanish territory, including the 1817–1818 campaign against the Seminole Indians by Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson was the seventh President of the United States . Based in frontier Tennessee, Jackson was a politician and army general who defeated the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend , and the British at the Battle of New Orleans...

 that became known as the First Seminole War. Following the war, the United States effectively controlled East Florida. In 1819, by terms of the Adams-Onís Treaty
Adams-Onís Treaty
The Adams–Onís Treaty of 1819, also known as the Transcontinental Treaty or the Purchase of Florida, was a treaty between the United States and Spain in 1819 that gave Florida to the U.S. and set out a boundary between the U.S. and New Spain . It settled a standing border dispute between the two...

, Spain ceded Florida to the United States in exchange for the American renunciation of any claims on Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 that they might have from the Louisiana Purchase
Louisiana Purchase
The Louisiana Purchase was the acquisition by the United States of America of of France's claim to the territory of Louisiana in 1803. The U.S...

 and $5 million.

In 1830, the Indian Removal Act
Indian Removal Act
The Indian Removal Act was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson on May 28, 1830.The Removal Act was strongly supported in the South, where states were eager to gain access to lands inhabited by the Five Civilized Tribes. In particular, Georgia, the largest state at that time, was involved in...

 was passed and as settlement increased, pressure grew on the United States government to remove the Indians from their lands in Florida. To the chagrin of Georgia landowners, the Seminoles harbored and integrated runaway blacks, known as the Black Seminoles
Black Seminoles
The Black Seminoles is a term used by modern historians for the descendants of free blacks and some runaway slaves , mostly Gullahs who escaped from coastal South Carolina and Georgia rice plantations into the Spanish Florida wilderness beginning as early as the late 17th century...

, and clashes between whites and Indians grew with the influx of new settlers. In 1832, the United States government signed the Treaty of Payne's Landing
Treaty of Payne's Landing
The Treaty of Payne's Landing was an agreement signed on 9 May 1832 between the government of the United States and several chiefs of the Seminole Indians in the present-day state of Florida.- Background :...

 with some of the Seminole chiefs, promising them lands west of the Mississippi River if they agreed to leave Florida voluntarily. Many of the Seminoles left at this time, while those who remained prepared to defend their claims to the land. The U.S. Army arrived in 1835 to enforce the treaty under pressure from white settlers, and the Second Seminole War
Second Seminole War
The Second Seminole War, also known as the Florida War, was a conflict from 1835 to 1842 in Florida between various groups of Native Americans collectively known as Seminoles and the United States, part of a series of conflicts called the Seminole Wars...

 began at the end of the year with the Dade Massacre
Dade Massacre
The "Dade Massacre" was an 1835 defeat for the United States Army that started the Second Seminole War, which lasted until 1842.On December 23, 1835, two U.S. companies of 110 troops under Major Francis L. Dade departed from Fort Brooke , heading up the King Highway on a resupply and reinforce...

, when Seminoles ambushed and killed or mortally wounded all but one in a group of 110 Army troops, plus Major Dade and seven officers, marching from Fort Brooke
Fort Brooke
Fort Brooke was a historical military post situated on the east bank of the Hillsborough River in present-day Tampa, Florida. The Tampa Convention Center currently stands at the site.-Fort Brooke as a military outpost:...

 (Tampa) to reinforce Fort King
Fort King
Fort King was a United States military fort in north central Florida. It was named after Colonel William King, commander of Florida's Fourth Infantry and the first governor of the provisional West Florida region. The fort was built in 1827, and became the genesis of the city of Ocala...

 (Ocala). Between 900 and 1,500 Seminole Indian warriors employed guerrilla tactics against United States Army troops for seven years until 1842. The U.S. government is estimated to have spent between $20 million and $40 million on the war, at the time an astronomical sum.

On March 3, 1845, Florida became the 27th state of the United States of America, although initially its population grew slowly. White settlers continued to encroach on lands used by the Seminoles, and the United States government resolved to make another effort to move the remaining Seminoles to the West. The Third Seminole War lasted from 1855 to 1858, and resulted in the removal of most of the remaining Seminoles. Even after three bloody wars, the U.S. Army failed to force all of the Seminole Indians in Florida to the West. Though most of the Seminoles were forcibly exiled to Creek lands
Trail of Tears
The Trail of Tears is a name given to the forced relocation and movement of Native American nations from southeastern parts of the United States following the Indian Removal Act of 1830...

 west of the Mississippi, hundreds, including Seminole leader Aripeka (Sam Jones), remained in the Everglades
Everglades
The Everglades are subtropical wetlands in the southern portion of the U.S. state of Florida, comprising the southern half of a large watershed. The system begins near Orlando with the Kissimmee River, which discharges into the vast but shallow Lake Okeechobee...

 and refused to leave the native homeland of their ancestors. Their descendants remain there to this day.

White settlers began to establish cotton plantations in Florida, which required numerous laborers. By 1860 Florida had only 140,424 people, of whom 44% were enslaved. There were fewer than 1000 free African Americans before the Civil War.

On January 10, 1861, before the start of the American Civil War, Florida declared its secession from the Union
Union (American Civil War)
During the American Civil War, the Union was a name used to refer to the federal government of the United States, which was supported by the twenty free states and five border slave states. It was opposed by 11 southern slave states that had declared a secession to join together to form the...

; ten days later, the state became a founding member of the Confederate States of America
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

. The war ended in 1865. On June 25, 1868, Florida's congressional
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 representation was restored. After Reconstruction, white Democrats succeeded in regaining power in the state legislature. In 1885 they created a new constitution, followed by statutes through 1889 that effectively disfranchised most blacks and many poor whites over the next several years. Provisions included poll taxes, literacy tests, and residency requirements. Disfranchisement for most African Americans in the state persisted until the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s gained federal legislation to protect their suffrage.
Until the mid-20th century, Florida was the least populous Southern state. In 1900 its population was only 528,542, of whom nearly 44% were African American. The boll weevil
Boll weevil
The boll weevil is a beetle measuring an average length of six millimeters, which feeds on cotton buds and flowers. Thought to be native to Central America, it migrated into the United States from Mexico in the late 19th century and had infested all U.S. cotton-growing areas by the 1920s,...

 devastated cotton crops, and early 20th century lynchings and racial violence caused a record number of African Americans to leave the state in the Great Migration
Great Migration (African American)
The Great Migration was the movement of 6 million blacks out of the Southern United States to the Northeast, Midwest, and West from 1910 to 1970. Some historians differentiate between a Great Migration , numbering about 1.6 million migrants, and a Second Great Migration , in which 5 million or more...

 to northern and midwestern industrial cities. Forty thousand blacks, roughly one-fifth of their 1900 population, left for better opportunities. National economic prosperity in the 1920s stimulated tourism to Florida. Combined with its sudden elevation in profile was the Florida land boom of the 1920s
Florida land boom of the 1920s
The Florida land boom of the 1920s was Florida's first real estate bubble, which burst in 1925, leaving behind entire new cities and the remains of failed development projects such as Aladdin City in south Miami-Dade County and Isola di Lolando in north Biscayne Bay...

, which brought a brief period of intense land development. Devastating hurricanes in 1926
1926 Miami Hurricane
The 1926 Miami hurricane was a Category 4 hurricane that devastated Miami in September 1926. The storm also caused significant damage in the Florida Panhandle, the U.S. state of Alabama, and the Bahamas...

 and 1928
1928 Okeechobee Hurricane
The Okeechobee hurricane, or San Felipe Segundo hurricane, was a deadly hurricane that struck the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and Florida in September of the 1928 Atlantic hurricane season...

, followed by the stock market crash and Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, brought that period to a halt.

Florida's economy did not fully recover until the buildup for World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. The climate, tempered by the growing availability of air conditioning
Air conditioning
An air conditioner is a home appliance, system, or mechanism designed to dehumidify and extract heat from an area. The cooling is done using a simple refrigeration cycle...

, and low cost of living made the state a haven. Migration from the Rust Belt
Rust Belt
The Rust Belt is a term that gained currency in the 1980s as the informal description of an area straddling the Midwestern and Northeastern United States, in which local economies traditionally garnered an increased manufacturing sector to add jobs and corporate profits...

 and the Northeast sharply increased the population after the war. In recent decades, more migrants have come for the jobs in a developing economy. With a population of more than 18 million according to the 2010 census, Florida is the most populous state in the Southeastern United States, the second most populous state in the South behind Texas, and the fourth most populous in the United States.

Geography


Much of the state of Florida is situated on a peninsula
Peninsula
A peninsula is a piece of land that is bordered by water on three sides but connected to mainland. In many Germanic and Celtic languages and also in Baltic, Slavic and Hungarian, peninsulas are called "half-islands"....

 between the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean and the Straits of Florida
Straits of Florida
The Straits of Florida, Florida Straits, or Florida Strait is a strait located south-southeast of the North American mainland, generally accepted to be between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, and between the Florida Keys and Cuba. The strait carries the Florida Current, the beginning of...

. Spanning two time zone
Time zone
A time zone is a region on Earth that has a uniform standard time for legal, commercial, and social purposes. In order for the same clock time to always correspond to the same portion of the day as the Earth rotates , different places on the Earth need to have different clock times...

s, It extends to the northwest into a panhandle
Panhandle
A panhandle is an informal geographic term for an elongated arm-like protrusion of a geo-political entity, such as a subnational entity or a sovereign state.-Term:...

, extending along the northern Gulf of Mexico. It is bordered on the north by the states of Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

 and Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

, and on the west, at the end of the panhandle, by Alabama. It is near several Caribbean countries, particularly The Bahamas
The Bahamas
The Bahamas , officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is a nation consisting of 29 islands, 661 cays, and 2,387 islets . It is located in the Atlantic Ocean north of Cuba and Hispaniola , northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and southeast of the United States...

 and Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

. Florida is one of the largest states east of the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

, and only Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

 and Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

 are larger in water area.



At 345 feet (105 m) above mean sea level
Above mean sea level
The term above mean sea level refers to the elevation or altitude of any object, relative to the average sea level datum. AMSL is used extensively in radio by engineers to determine the coverage area a station will be able to reach...

, Britton Hill
Britton Hill
Britton Hill is the highest natural point in the state of Florida, USA, with a summit elevation of 345 feet above mean sea level. Many Florida skyscrapers are taller; as of 2010, the roof of the Four Seasons Hotel Miami is the highest non-natural point in Florida. Topping out at 789 feet,...

 is the highest point in Florida and the lowest highpoint of any U.S. state. Much of the state south of Orlando
Orlando, Florida
Orlando is a city in the central region of the U.S. state of Florida. It is the county seat of Orange County, and the center of the Greater Orlando metropolitan area. According to the 2010 US Census, the city had a population of 238,300, making Orlando the 79th largest city in the United States...

 is low-lying and fairly level; however, some places, such as Clearwater
Clearwater, Florida
Clearwater is a city located in Pinellas County, Florida, US, nearly due west of Tampa and northwest of St. Petersburg. In the west of Clearwater lies the Gulf of Mexico and in the east lies Tampa Bay. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 108,787. It is the county seat of...

, feature vistas that rise 50 to 100 feet (15 30 m) above the water. Much of Central and North Florida, typically 25 miles (40 km) or more away from the coastline, features rolling hills with elevations ranging from 100 to 250 feet (30 76 m). The highest point in peninsular Florida, Sugarloaf Mountain, is a 312 feet (95 m) peak in Lake County
Lake County, Florida
Lake County is a county located in the state of Florida, United States. As of the 2000 Census, the population was 210,528. The Census Bureau estimated the population in 2008 to be 307,243. Its county seat is Tavares...

.

Boundaries


The state line begins in the Atlantic Ocean, traveling west, south, and north up the thalweg
Thalweg
Thalweg in geography and fluvial geomorphology signifies the deepest continuous inline within a valley or watercourse system.-Hydrology:In hydrological and fluvial landforms, the thalweg is a line drawn to join the lowest points along the entire length of a stream bed or valley in its downward...

 of the Saint Mary's River. At the origin of that river, it then follows a straight line nearly due west and slightly north, to the point where the confluence
Confluence (geography)
In geography, a confluence is the meeting of two or more bodies of water. It usually refers to the point where two streams flow together, merging into a single stream...

 of the Flint River
Flint River (Georgia)
The Flint River is a river in the U.S. state of Georgia. The river drains of western Georgia, flowing south from the upper Piedmont region south of Atlanta to the wetlands of the Gulf Coastal Plain in the southwestern corner of the state. Along with the Apalachicola and the Chattahoochee rivers,...

 (from Georgia) and the Chattahoochee River
Chattahoochee River
The Chattahoochee River flows through or along the borders of the U.S. states of Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. It is a tributary of the Apalachicola River, a relatively short river formed by the confluence of the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers and emptying into Apalachicola Bay in the Gulf of...

 (down the Alabama/Georgia line) used to form Florida's Apalachicola River. (Since Woodruff Dam was built, this point has been under Lake Seminole.) The border with Georgia continues north through the lake for a short distance up the former thalweg of the Chattahoochee, then with Alabama runs due west along latitude
Latitude
In geography, the latitude of a location on the Earth is the angular distance of that location south or north of the Equator. The latitude is an angle, and is usually measured in degrees . The equator has a latitude of 0°, the North pole has a latitude of 90° north , and the South pole has a...

 31°N
31st parallel north
The 31st parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 31 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America and the Atlantic Ocean.Part of the border between Iran and Iraq is defined by the parallel....

 to the Perdido River
Perdido River
The Perdido River is a river in the U.S. states of Alabama and Florida. The river forms part of the boundary between the two states along nearly its entire length and drains into the Gulf of Mexico...

, then south along its thalweg to the Gulf via Perdido Bay. The water boundary is 3 nmi (3.5 mi; 5.6 km) offshore in the Atlantic Ocean and 9 nmi (10.4 mi; 16.7 km) offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. Much of the state is at or near sea level
Sea level
Mean sea level is a measure of the average height of the ocean's surface ; used as a standard in reckoning land elevation...

.

Climate



The climate of Florida is tempered somewhat by the fact that no part of the state is very distant from the ocean. North of Lake Okeechobee, the prevalent climate is humid subtropical
Humid subtropical climate
A humid subtropical climate is a climate zone characterized by hot, humid summers and mild to cool winters...

 (Köppen
Köppen climate classification
The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

: Cfa), while coastal areas south of the lake (including the Florida Keys
Florida Keys
The Florida Keys are a coral archipelago in southeast United States. They begin at the southeastern tip of the Florida peninsula, about south of Miami, and extend in a gentle arc south-southwest and then westward to Key West, the westernmost of the inhabited islands, and on to the uninhabited Dry...

) have a true tropical climate
Tropical climate
A tropical climate is a climate of the tropics. In the Köppen climate classification it is a non-arid climate in which all twelve months have mean temperatures above...

 (Köppen: Aw). Mean high temperatures for late July are primarily in the low 90s Fahrenheit (32–34 °C). Mean low temperatures for early to mid January range from the low 40s Fahrenheit (4–7 °C) in northern Florida to the mid-50s (≈13 °C) in southern Florida. With an average daily temperature of 70.7 °F (21.5 °C), it is the warmest state in the country.

In the summer, high temperatures in the state seldom exceed 100 °F (38 °C). Several record cold maxima have been in the 30s °F (−1 to 4 °C) and record lows have been in the 10s (−12 to −7 °C). These temperatures normally extend at most a few days at a time in the northern and central parts of Florida. Southern Florida, however, rarely encounters sub-freezing temperatures.



The hottest temperature ever recorded in Florida was 109 °F (43 °C), which was set on June 29, 1931 in Monticello
Monticello, Florida
Monticello is a city in Jefferson County, Florida, United States. The population was 2,533 at the 2000 census. As of 2004, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau is 2,572. It is the county seat of Jefferson County...

. The coldest temperature was −2 °F, on February 13, 1899, just 25 miles (40 km) away, in Tallahassee.

The USDA Plant hardiness zone
Hardiness zone
A hardiness zone is a geographically defined area in which a specific category of plant life is capable of growing, as defined by climatic conditions, including its ability to withstand the minimum temperatures of the zone...

s for the state range from zone 8a (no colder than 10 °F (-12.2 °C)) in the inland western panhandle
Florida Panhandle
The Florida Panhandle, an informal, unofficial term for the northwestern part of Florida, is a strip of land roughly 200 miles long and 50 to 100 miles wide , lying between Alabama on the north and the west, Georgia also on the north, and the Gulf of Mexico to the south. Its eastern boundary is...

 to zone 11 (no colder than 40 °F (4.4 °C)) in the lower Florida Keys
Florida Keys
The Florida Keys are a coral archipelago in southeast United States. They begin at the southeastern tip of the Florida peninsula, about south of Miami, and extend in a gentle arc south-southwest and then westward to Key West, the westernmost of the inhabited islands, and on to the uninhabited Dry...

.

Florida's nickname is the "Sunshine State", but severe weather is a common occurrence in the state. Central Florida is known as the lightning
Lightning
Lightning is an atmospheric electrostatic discharge accompanied by thunder, which typically occurs during thunderstorms, and sometimes during volcanic eruptions or dust storms...

 capital of the United States, as it experiences more lightning strikes than anywhere else in the country.
Florida has the highest average precipitation of any state, in large part because afternoon thunderstorm
Thunderstorm
A thunderstorm, also known as an electrical storm, a lightning storm, thundershower or simply a storm is a form of weather characterized by the presence of lightning and its acoustic effect on the Earth's atmosphere known as thunder. The meteorologically assigned cloud type associated with the...

s are common in most of the state from late spring until early autumn. A narrow eastern part of the state including Orlando and Jacksonville receives between 2,400 and 2,800 hours of sunshine
Sunshine
Sunshine is sunlight, the electromagnetic radiation emitted by the Sun, especially in the visible wavelengths.Sunshine may also refer to:-Film and television:*Sunshine , a historical film directed by István Szabó...

 annually. The rest of the state, including Miami, receives between 2,800 and 3,200 hours annually.

Florida leads the United States in tornadoes per square mile (when including waterspouts) but they do not typically reach the intensity of those in the Midwest and Great Plains
Great Plains
The Great Plains are a broad expanse of flat land, much of it covered in prairie, steppe and grassland, which lies west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada. This area covers parts of the U.S...

. Hail
Hail
Hail is a form of solid precipitation. It consists of balls or irregular lumps of ice, each of which is referred to as a hail stone. Hail stones on Earth consist mostly of water ice and measure between and in diameter, with the larger stones coming from severe thunderstorms...

 often accompanies the most severe thunderstorms.


Hurricanes
Tropical cyclone
A tropical cyclone is a storm system characterized by a large low-pressure center and numerous thunderstorms that produce strong winds and heavy rain. Tropical cyclones strengthen when water evaporated from the ocean is released as the saturated air rises, resulting in condensation of water vapor...

 pose a severe threat during hurricane season, which lasts from June 1 to November 30, although some storms have been known to form out of season. Florida is the most hurricane-prone US state, with subtropical or tropical water on a lengthy coastline. From 1851 to 2006, Florida has been struck by 114 hurricanes, 37 of them major—category 3 and above. It is rare for a hurricane season to pass without any impact in the state by at least a tropical storm. For storms, category 4 or higher, 83% have either hit Florida or Texas. August to October is the most likely period for a hurricane in Florida.

In 2004, Florida was hit by a record four hurricanes. Hurricanes Charley
Hurricane Charley
Hurricane Charley was the third named storm, the second hurricane, and the second major hurricane of the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season. Charley lasted from August 9 to August 15, and at its peak intensity it attained 150 mph winds, making it a strong Category 4 hurricane on the...

 (August 13), Frances
Hurricane Frances
Hurricane Frances was the sixth named storm, the fourth hurricane, and the third major hurricane of the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season. The system crossing the open Atlantic during mid to late August, moving to the north of the Lesser Antilles while strengthening. Its outer bands affected Puerto...

 (September 4–5), Ivan
Hurricane Ivan
Hurricane Ivan was a large, long-lived, Cape Verde-type hurricane that caused widespread damage in the Caribbean and United States. The cyclone was the ninth named storm, the sixth hurricane and the fourth major hurricane of the active 2004 Atlantic hurricane season...

 (September 16), and Jeanne
Hurricane Jeanne
Hurricane Jeanne was the deadliest hurricane in the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season. It was the tenth named storm, the seventh hurricane, and the fifth major hurricane of the season, as well as the third hurricane and fourth named storm of the season to make landfall in Florida...

 (September 25–26) cumulatively cost the state's economy $42 billion. Additionally, the four storms caused an estimated $45 billion in damage.
In 2005, Hurricane Dennis
Hurricane Dennis
Hurricane Dennis was an early-forming major hurricane in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico during the very active 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. Dennis was the fourth named storm, second hurricane, and first major hurricane of the season...

 (July 10) became the fifth storm to strike Florida within eleven months. Later, Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season was a powerful Atlantic hurricane. It is the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall...

 (August 25) passed through South Florida and Hurricane Rita
Hurricane Rita
Hurricane Rita was the fourth-most intense Atlantic hurricane ever recorded and the most intense tropical cyclone ever observed in the Gulf of Mexico. Rita caused $11.3 billion in damage on the U.S. Gulf Coast in September 2005...

 (September 20) swept through the Florida Keys
Florida Keys
The Florida Keys are a coral archipelago in southeast United States. They begin at the southeastern tip of the Florida peninsula, about south of Miami, and extend in a gentle arc south-southwest and then westward to Key West, the westernmost of the inhabited islands, and on to the uninhabited Dry...

. Hurricane Wilma
Hurricane Wilma
Hurricane Wilma was the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Atlantic basin. Wilma was the twenty-second storm , thirteenth hurricane, sixth major hurricane, and fourth Category 5 hurricane of the record-breaking 2005 season...

 (October 24) made landfall near Cape Romano
Cape Romano
Cape Romano is a cape at the southern end of Caxambas Island, just south of Marco Island and northwest of the Ten Thousand Islands in Collier County, Florida.Calusa Indians founded the settlement and called it Manataca...

, just south of Marco Island
Marco Island, Florida
Marco Island is a city in Collier County, Florida, United States, located on an island by the same name in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Southwest Florida. It is a principal city of the Naples–Marco Island Metropolitan Statistical Area...

, finishing another very active hurricane season. Wilma is the second most expensive hurricane in Florida history, due in part to a five year window in which to file claims.

Florida was the site of the second costliest weather disaster in U.S. history, Hurricane Andrew
Hurricane Andrew
Hurricane Andrew was the third Category 5 hurricane to make landfall in the United States, after the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 and Hurricane Camille in 1969. Andrew was the first named storm and only major hurricane of the otherwise inactive 1992 Atlantic hurricane season...

, which caused more than US$25 billion
1000000000 (number)
1,000,000,000 is the natural number following 999,999,999 and preceding 1,000,000,001.In scientific notation, it is written as 109....

 in damage when it struck on August 24, 1992. In a long list of other infamous hurricane strikes are the 1926 Miami hurricane
1926 Miami Hurricane
The 1926 Miami hurricane was a Category 4 hurricane that devastated Miami in September 1926. The storm also caused significant damage in the Florida Panhandle, the U.S. state of Alabama, and the Bahamas...

, the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane
1928 Okeechobee Hurricane
The Okeechobee hurricane, or San Felipe Segundo hurricane, was a deadly hurricane that struck the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and Florida in September of the 1928 Atlantic hurricane season...

, the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935
Labor Day Hurricane of 1935
The 1935 Labor Day Hurricane was the strongest tropical cyclone of the 1935 Atlantic hurricane season, and one of the most intense hurricanes to make landfall in the United States in recorded history...

, Hurricane Donna
Hurricane Donna
Hurricane Donna in the 1960 Atlantic hurricane season was a Cape Verde-type hurricane which moved across the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, Hispanola, Cuba, The Bahamas, and every state on the East Coast of the United States...

 in 1960, and Hurricane Opal
Hurricane Opal
Hurricane Opal was a Category 4 hurricane that formed in the Gulf of Mexico in September 1995.Opal was the ninth hurricane and the strongest of the abnormally active 1995 Atlantic hurricane season...

 in 1995. Recent research suggests the storms are part of a natural cycle and not a result of global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

.
Average High and Low temperatures for various Florida Cities
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Jacksonville
Jacksonville, Florida
Jacksonville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Florida in terms of both population and land area, and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. It is the county seat of Duval County, with which the city government consolidated in 1968...

65/43 68/45 74/50 80/56 86/64 90/70 92/73 91/73 87/70 80/61 73/51 66/44
Key West
Key West, Florida
Key West is a city in Monroe County, Florida, United States. The city encompasses the island of Key West, the part of Stock Island north of U.S. 1 , Sigsbee Park , Fleming Key , and Sunset Key...

75/65 76/66 79/69 82/72 85/76 88/78 89/80 90/80 88/78 85/76 80/71 76/67
Melbourne
Melbourne, Florida
Melbourne is a city in Brevard County, Florida, United States. As of 2009, the population estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau is 78,323. The municipal area is the second largest by size and by population in the county. Melbourne is a principal city of the Palm Bay – Melbourne – Titusville, Florida...

72/51 73/53 77/57 81/61 85/67 88/71 90/73 90/73 88/72 83/67 78/60 73/53
Miami
Miami, Florida
Miami is a city located on the Atlantic coast in southeastern Florida and the county seat of Miami-Dade County, the most populous county in Florida and the eighth-most populous county in the United States with a population of 2,500,625...

76/60 77/61 80/64 83/68 86/72 88/75 90/77 90/77 88/76 85/72 81/67 77/62
Pensacola
Pensacola, Florida
Pensacola is the westernmost city in the Florida Panhandle and the county seat of Escambia County, Florida, United States of America. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 56,255 and as of 2009, the estimated population was 53,752...

61/43 64/46 70/51 76/58 84/66 89/72 90/74 90/74 87/70 80/60 70/50 63/45
Tallahassee
Tallahassee, Florida
Tallahassee is the capital of the U.S. state of Florida. It is the county seat and only incorporated municipality in Leon County, and is the 128th largest city in the United States. Tallahassee became the capital of Florida, then the Florida Territory, in 1824. In 2010, the population recorded by...

64/40 67/42 73/48 80/53 87/62 91/69 91/72 91/72 88/68 81/57 72/47 66/41
Tampa
Tampa, Florida
Tampa is a city in the U.S. state of Florida. It serves as the county seat for Hillsborough County. Tampa is located on the west coast of Florida. The population of Tampa in 2010 was 335,709....

71/51 72/52 77/57 82/62 88/68 90/73 90/75 90/75 89/73 84/66 77/58 72/52

Fauna




Florida is host to many types of wildlife including:
  • Marine Mammals: Bottlenose Dolphin
    Bottlenose Dolphin
    Bottlenose dolphins, the genus Tursiops, are the most common and well-known members of the family Delphinidae, the family of oceanic dolphins. Recent molecular studies show the genus contains two species, the common bottlenose dolphin and the Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin , instead of one...

    , Short-finned Pilot Whale
    Short-finned Pilot Whale
    The Short-finned Pilot Whale is one of the two species of cetacean in the genus Globicephala. It is part of the oceanic dolphin family , though its behaviour is closer to that of the larger whales....

    , North Atlantic Right Whale
    North Atlantic Right Whale
    The North Atlantic right whale which means "good, or true, whale of the ice") is a baleen whale, one of three right whale species belonging to the genus Eubalaena, formerly classified as a single species. With only 400 in existence, North Atlantic right whales are among the most endangered whales...

    , West Indian Manatee
    West Indian Manatee
    The West Indian Manatee is a manatee, and the largest surviving member of the aquatic mammal order Sirenia . The West Indian Manatee, Trichechus manatus, is a species distinct from the Amazonian Manatee, T. inunguis, and the West African Manatee, T. senegalensis...

  • Reptiles: American Alligator
    American Alligator
    The American alligator , sometimes referred to colloquially as a gator, is a reptile endemic only to the Southeastern United States. It is one of the two living species of alligator, in the genus Alligator, within the family Alligatoridae...

     and Crocodile
    American Crocodile
    The American crocodile is a species of crocodilian found in the Neotropics. It is the most widespread of the four extant species of crocodiles from the Americas. Populations occur from the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of southern Mexico to South America as far as Peru and Venezuela. It also lives...

    , Eastern Diamondback
    Crotalus adamanteus
    Crotalus adamanteus is a venomous pit viper species found in the southeastern United States. It is the heaviest venomous snake in the Americas and the largest rattlesnake. It featured prominently in the American Revolution, specifically as the symbol of what many consider to be the first flag of...

     and Pygmy Rattlesnakes
    Sistrurus miliarius barbouri
    Sistrurus miliarius barbouri is a venomous pitviper subspecies found in the southeastern United States.-Description: Adults grow to between 35.5 and 76 cm in length . In a study that involved 103 males and 80 females, the average length was 53.5 cm. Snellings and Collins reported a specimen...

    , Gopher Tortoise
    Gopherus polyphemus
    The gopher tortoise is a species of the Gopherus genus native to the southeastern United States. The gopher tortoise is seen as a keystone species because it digs burrows that provide shelter for 360 other animal species...

    , Green and Leatherback Sea Turtle
    Leatherback Sea Turtle
    The leatherback sea turtle is the largest of all living sea turtles and the fourth largest modern reptile behind three crocodilians. It is the only living species in the genus Dermochelys. It can easily be differentiated from other modern sea turtles by its lack of a bony shell. Instead, its...

    s, Eastern Indigo Snake
    Drymarchon
    Indigo snakes are a genus of large non-venomous colubrid snakes found in Southeastern United States, Central America, and South America. Three to four species are currently recognized.-Description:...

  • Mammals: Florida panther
    Florida Panther
    The Florida panther is an endangered subspecies of cougar that lives in forests and swamps of southern Florida in the United States. Its current taxonomic status is unresolved, but recent genetic research alone does not alter the legal conservation status...

    , Northern River Otter
    Northern River Otter
    The North American river otter , also known as the northern river otter or the common otter, is a semiaquatic mammal endemic to the North American continent, found in and along its waterways and coasts. An adult river otter can weigh between 5 and 14 kg...

    , Mink
    Mink
    There are two living species referred to as "mink": the European Mink and the American Mink. The extinct Sea Mink is related to the American Mink, but was much larger. All three species are dark-colored, semi-aquatic, carnivorous mammals of the family Mustelidae, which also includes the weasels and...

    , Eastern Cottontail Rabbit, Marsh Rabbit
    Marsh Rabbit
    The marsh rabbit is a small cottontail rabbit found in marshes and swamps of coastal regions of the Eastern and Southern United States. It is a strong swimmer and found only near regions of water...

    , Raccoon
    Raccoon
    Procyon is a genus of nocturnal mammals, comprising three species commonly known as raccoons, in the family Procyonidae. The most familiar species, the common raccoon , is often known simply as "the" raccoon, as the two other raccoon species in the genus are native only to the tropics and are...

    , Striped Skunk
    Striped Skunk
    The striped skunk, Mephitis mephitis, is an omnivorous mammal of the skunk family Mephitidae. Found over most of the North American continent north of Mexico, it is one of the best-known mammals in Canada and the United States.-Description:...

    , Squirrel
    Squirrel
    Squirrels belong to a large family of small or medium-sized rodents called the Sciuridae. The family includes tree squirrels, ground squirrels, chipmunks, marmots , flying squirrels, and prairie dogs. Squirrels are indigenous to the Americas, Eurasia, and Africa and have been introduced to Australia...

    , White-tailed deer
    White-tailed Deer
    The white-tailed deer , also known as the Virginia deer or simply as the whitetail, is a medium-sized deer native to the United States , Canada, Mexico, Central America, and South America as far south as Peru...

    , Key Deer
    Key Deer
    The Key Deer is an endangered deer that lives only in the Florida Keys. It is a subspecies of the White-tailed deer .-Physical description and behavior:...

    , Bobcat
    Bobcat
    The bobcat is a North American mammal of the cat family Felidae, appearing during the Irvingtonian stage of around 1.8 million years ago . With twelve recognized subspecies, it ranges from southern Canada to northern Mexico, including most of the continental United States...

    s, Gray Fox
    Gray Fox
    The gray fox is a mammal of the order Carnivora ranging throughout most of the southern half of North America from southern Canada to the northern part of South America...

    , Coyote
    Coyote
    The coyote , also known as the American jackal or the prairie wolf, is a species of canine found throughout North and Central America, ranging from Panama in the south, north through Mexico, the United States and Canada...

    , Wild Boar, Florida Black Bear
    Florida Black Bear
    The Florida black bear is a subspecies of the American black bear that has historically ranged throughout most of Florida and southern portions of Alabama and Georgia. The large black-furred bears live mainly in forested areas and have seen recent habitat reduction throughout the state...

    , Nine-banded Armadillo
    Nine-banded Armadillo
    The nine-banded armadillo , or the nine-banded, long-nosed armadillo, is a species of armadillo found in North, Central, and South America, making it the most widespread of the armadillos...

    s
  • Birds: Bald Eagle
    Bald Eagle
    The Bald Eagle is a bird of prey found in North America. It is the national bird and symbol of the United States of America. This sea eagle has two known sub-species and forms a species pair with the White-tailed Eagle...

    , Northern Caracara, Snail Kite
    Snail Kite
    The Snail Kite is a bird of prey within the family Accipitridae, which also includes the eagles, hawks, and Old World vultures. Its relative, the Slender-billed Kite, is now again placed in Helicolestes, making the genus Rostrhamus monotypic...

    , Osprey
    Osprey
    The Osprey , sometimes known as the sea hawk or fish eagle, is a diurnal, fish-eating bird of prey. It is a large raptor, reaching more than in length and across the wings...

    , White
    American White Pelican
    The American White Pelican is a large aquatic bird from the order Pelecaniformes. It breeds in interior North America, moving south and to the coasts, as far as Central America, in winter....

     and Brown Pelican
    Brown Pelican
    The Brown Pelican is the smallest of the eight species of pelican, although it is a large bird in nearly every other regard. It is in length, weighs from and has a wingspan from .-Range and habits:...

    s, Sea Gulls
    Larus
    Larus is a large genus of gulls with worldwide distribution . Many of its species are abundant and well-known birds in their ranges...

    , Whooping
    Whooping Crane
    The whooping crane , the tallest North American bird, is an endangered crane species named for its whooping sound. Along with the Sandhill Crane, it is one of only two crane species found in North America. The whooping crane's lifespan is estimated to be 22 to 24 years in the wild...

     and Sandhill Crane
    Sandhill Crane
    The Sandhill Crane is a large crane of North America and extreme northeastern Siberia. The common name of this bird references habitat like that at the Platte River, on the edge of Nebraska's Sandhills in the American Midwest...

    s, Roseate Spoonbill
    Roseate Spoonbill
    The Roseate Spoonbill, Platalea ajaja, is a gregarious wading bird of the ibis and spoonbill family, Threskiornithidae...

    , Florida Scrub Jay
    Florida Scrub Jay
    The Florida Scrub-Jay is one of the species of scrub-jay native to North America. It is the only species of bird endemic to the U.S. state of Florida. Because of this, it is heavily sought by birders who travel from across the country to observe this unique species...

     (state endemic), and others. One subspecies of Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo, namely subspecies osceola, is found only in the state of Florida. The state is a wintering location for many species of eastern North American birds.
  • Invertebrates: carpenter ants, termites, American cockroach
    American cockroach
    The American cockroach , also known as the waterbug, or misidentified as the palmetto bug , is the largest species of common cockroach, and often considered a pest. None of the Periplaneta species are endemic to the Americas; despite the name, P...

    , Africanized bee
    Africanized bee
    Africanized honey bees, known colloquially as "killer bees", are a hybrid variety of the European honeybee , generated by a man-made breeding of the African honey bee, A. m. scutellata, with various European honey bees such as the Italian bee A. m. ligustica and A. m. iberiensis. These bees are far...

    s, the Miami blue
    Miami blue
    The Miami blue is a small butterfly that is native to coastal areas of southern Florida. Once very common throughout its range, it has become critically endangered, and may be the rarest insect in the United States...

     butterfly, and the grizzled mantis
    Gonatista grisea
    Gonatista grisea, common name Grizzled Mantis or Lichen Mimic, is a species of praying mantis native to the Southern United States, primarily Florida...

    .


The only known calving area for the Northern Right Whale is off the coasts of Florida and Georgia.

Since their accidental importation from South America into North America in the 1930s, the Red imported fire ant
Red imported fire ant
See main article Fire ant.The red imported fire ant , or simply RIFA, is one of over 280 species in the widespread genus Solenopsis...

 population has increased its territorial range to include most of the Southern United States
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

, including Florida. They are more aggressive than most native ant species and have a painful sting.

A number of non-native snakes and lizards have been released in the wild. In 2010 the state created a hunting season for Burmese
Burmese Python
The Burmese Python is the largest subspecies of the Indian Python and one of the 6 largest snakes in the world, native to a large variation of tropic and subtropic areas of Southern- and Southeast Asia. They are often found near water and are sometimes semi-aquatic, but can also be found in trees...

 and Indian python
Indian Python
Python molurus is a large nonvenomous python species found in many tropic and subtropic areas of Southern and Southeast Asia. It is known by the common names Indian python, black-tailed python, and Indian rock python. Two subspecies are currently recognized: the nominate subspecies and the Burmese...

s, African rock pythons, green anaconda
Green Anaconda
Eunectes murinus is a non-venomous boa species found in South America. It is the heaviest known snake species...

s, and Nile monitor lizards. Green iguana
Green Iguana
The Green Iguana or Common Iguana is a large, arboreal herbivorous species of lizard of the genus Iguana native to Central and South America...

s have also established a firm population in the southern part of the state.

Environmental issues



Florida ranks 45th out of 50 states in total energy consumption per capita, despite the heavy reliance on air conditioners and pool pumps. This includes coal, natural gas, petroleum, and retail electricity sales. It is estimated that approximately 4% of energy in the state is generated through renewable resources. Florida's energy production is 6% of the nation's total energy output, while total production of pollutants is lower, with figures of 5.6% for nitrogen oxide
Nitrogen oxide
Nitrogen oxide can refer to a binary compound of oxygen and nitrogen, or a mixture of such compounds:* Nitric oxide, also known as nitrogen monoxide, , nitrogen oxide* Nitrogen dioxide , nitrogen oxide...

, 5.1% for carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

, and 3.5% for sulfur dioxide
Sulfur dioxide
Sulfur dioxide is the chemical compound with the formula . It is released by volcanoes and in various industrial processes. Since coal and petroleum often contain sulfur compounds, their combustion generates sulfur dioxide unless the sulfur compounds are removed before burning the fuel...

.

It is believed that significant petroleum resources are located off Florida's western coast in the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

, but that region has been closed to exploration since 1981.

Red tide
Red tide
Red tide is a common name for a phenomenon also known as an algal bloom , an event in which estuarine, marine, or fresh water algae accumulate rapidly in the water column and results in discoloration of the surface water. It is usually found in coastal areas...

 has been an issue on the southwest coast of Florida, as well as other areas. While there has been a great deal of conjecture over the cause of the toxic algae bloom, there is no evidence that it is being caused by pollution or that there has been an increase in the duration or frequency of red tides.

The Florida panther
Florida Panther
The Florida panther is an endangered subspecies of cougar that lives in forests and swamps of southern Florida in the United States. Its current taxonomic status is unresolved, but recent genetic research alone does not alter the legal conservation status...

 is close to extinction
Extinction
In biology and ecology, extinction is the end of an organism or of a group of organisms , normally a species. The moment of extinction is generally considered to be the death of the last individual of the species, although the capacity to breed and recover may have been lost before this point...

. A record 23 were killed in 2009 predominately by automobile collisions, leaving only about 100 individuals in the wild. The Center for Biological Diversity
Center for Biological Diversity
The Center for Biological Diversity based in Tucson, Arizona, is a nonprofit membership organization with approximately 220,000 members and online activists, known for its work protecting endangered species through legal action and scientific petitions...

 and others have therefore called for a special protected area
Protected area
Protected areas are locations which receive protection because of their recognised natural, ecological and/or cultural values. There are several kinds of protected areas, which vary by level of protection depending on the enabling laws of each country or the regulations of the international...

 for the panther to be established. Manatees are also dying at a rate higher than their reproduction.

Prior to instituting controlled burn
Controlled burn
Controlled or prescribed burning, also known as hazard reduction burning or Swailing is a technique sometimes used in forest management, farming, prairie restoration or greenhouse gas abatement. Fire is a natural part of both forest and grassland ecology and controlled fire can be a tool for...

s, the state forests and pastures burned for months during the dry season. From the 1940s to the 1970s, the state and federal government assumed control of burning that largely prevented uncontrolled fires. In 2010, the state burned a record 2600000 acres (10,521.8 km²).

Recycling


The recycling rate in Florida is estimated at 28% in 2000. In 2008, The Energy, Climate Change, and Economic Security Act of 2008 set a goal of progressively improving recycling to reach a 75 percent rate by the year 2020.

It directs public entities (schools, state and local public agencies) to report the amount they recycle annually to their counties. Private businesses are encouraged (but not mandated) to report the amount they recycle to their counties. Finally, the section directs DEP to create the Recycling Business Assistance Center.
Under the new law, each county must implement a recyclable materials recycling program that shall have a goal of recycling recyclable solid waste by 40 percent by December 31, 2012, 50 percent by 2014, 60 percent by 2016, 70 percent by 2018, and 75 percent by 2020.
The county with the highest recycling rate is Lee County
Lee County, Florida
Lee County is a county located in the U.S. state of Florida. Located in southwest Florida, the principal cities in the county are Fort Myers and Cape Coral...

 with a 43% recycling rate as of 2008.

Geology


The Florida peninsula is a porous plateau
Plateau
In geology and earth science, a plateau , also called a high plain or tableland, is an area of highland, usually consisting of relatively flat terrain. A highly eroded plateau is called a dissected plateau...

 of karst
KARST
Kilometer-square Area Radio Synthesis Telescope is a Chinese telescope project to which FAST is a forerunner. KARST is a set of large spherical reflectors on karst landforms, which are bowlshaped limestone sinkholes named after the Kras region in Slovenia and Northern Italy. It will consist of...

 limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

 sitting atop bedrock
Bedrock
In stratigraphy, bedrock is the native consolidated rock underlying the surface of a terrestrial planet, usually the Earth. Above the bedrock is usually an area of broken and weathered unconsolidated rock in the basal subsoil...

 known as the Florida Platform
Florida Platform
The Florida Platform is a flat geological feature with the emergent portion being the Florida peninsula.-Structure:The platform forms a rampart between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. The platform's western edge, or Florida Escarpment, is normally defined with water depths at 300 feet...

. The emergent portion of the platform was created during the Eocene
Eocene
The Eocene Epoch, lasting from about 56 to 34 million years ago , is a major division of the geologic timescale and the second epoch of the Paleogene Period in the Cenozoic Era. The Eocene spans the time from the end of the Palaeocene Epoch to the beginning of the Oligocene Epoch. The start of the...

 to Oligocene
Oligocene
The Oligocene is a geologic epoch of the Paleogene Period and extends from about 34 million to 23 million years before the present . As with other older geologic periods, the rock beds that define the period are well identified but the exact dates of the start and end of the period are slightly...

 as the Gulf Trough
Gulf Trough
The Gulf Trough, also known as the Suwanee Straits, is an ancient geologic feature of Florida present during the Paleogene...

 filled with silts, clays, and sands. Flora and fauna began appearing during the Miocene
Miocene
The Miocene is a geological epoch of the Neogene Period and extends from about . The Miocene was named by Sir Charles Lyell. Its name comes from the Greek words and and means "less recent" because it has 18% fewer modern sea invertebrates than the Pliocene. The Miocene follows the Oligocene...

. No land animals were present in Florida prior to the Miocene.

The largest deposits of potash
Potash
Potash is the common name for various mined and manufactured salts that contain potassium in water-soluble form. In some rare cases, potash can be formed with traces of organic materials such as plant remains, and this was the major historical source for it before the industrial era...

 in the United States are found in Florida.

Extended systems of underwater caves, sinkholes and springs
Spring (hydrosphere)
A spring—also known as a rising or resurgence—is a component of the hydrosphere. Specifically, it is any natural situation where water flows to the surface of the earth from underground...

 are found throughout the state and supply most of the water used by residents. The limestone is topped with sand
Sand
Sand is a naturally occurring granular material composed of finely divided rock and mineral particles.The composition of sand is highly variable, depending on the local rock sources and conditions, but the most common constituent of sand in inland continental settings and non-tropical coastal...

y soils deposited as ancient beach
Beach
A beach is a geological landform along the shoreline of an ocean, sea, lake or river. It usually consists of loose particles which are often composed of rock, such as sand, gravel, shingle, pebbles or cobblestones...

es over millions of years as global sea levels rose and fell. During the last glacial period, lower sea levels and a drier climate revealed a much wider peninsula, largely savanna
Temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands
Temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands is a terrestrial biome whose predominant vegetation consists of grasses and/or shrubs. The climate is temperate and semi-arid to semi-humid....

. The Everglades
Everglades
The Everglades are subtropical wetlands in the southern portion of the U.S. state of Florida, comprising the southern half of a large watershed. The system begins near Orlando with the Kissimmee River, which discharges into the vast but shallow Lake Okeechobee...

, an enormously wide, very slow-flowing river encompasses the southern tip of the peninsula. Sinkhole damage claims on property in the state exceeded a total of $2 billion from 2006 through 2010.

Florida is tied for last place as having the fewest earthquakes of any US state. Because Florida is not located near any tectonic plate
Plate tectonics
Plate tectonics is a scientific theory that describes the large scale motions of Earth's lithosphere...

 boundaries, earthquakes are very rare, but not totally unknown.

The 1755 Lisbon earthquake
1755 Lisbon earthquake
The 1755 Lisbon earthquake, also known as the Great Lisbon Earthquake, was a megathrust earthquake that took place on Saturday 1 November 1755, at around 9:40 in the morning. The earthquake was followed by fires and a tsunami, which almost totally destroyed Lisbon in the Kingdom of Portugal, and...

 triggered a tsunami that would have struck Central Florida with an estimated 5 feet (1.5 m) wave.

In January, 1879, a shock of Mercalli intensity scale
Mercalli intensity scale
The Mercalli intensity scale is a seismic scale used for measuring the intensity of an earthquake. It measures the effects of an earthquake, and is distinct from the moment magnitude M_w usually reported for an earthquake , which is a measure of the energy released...

 VI occurred near St. Augustine
St. Augustine, Florida
St. Augustine is a city in the northeast section of Florida and the county seat of St. Johns County, Florida, United States. Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorer and admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, it is the oldest continuously occupied European-established city and port in the continental United...

. There were reports of heavy shaking that knocked plaster from walls and articles from shelves. Similar effects were noted at Daytona Beach
Daytona Beach, Florida
Daytona Beach is a city in Volusia County, Florida, USA. According to 2008 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the city has a population of 64,211. Daytona Beach is a principal city of the Deltona – Daytona Beach – Ormond Beach, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area, which the census bureau estimated had...

 50 miles (80.5 km) south. The tremor was felt as far south as Tampa and as far north as Savannah, Georgia
Savannah, Georgia
Savannah is the largest city and the county seat of Chatham County, in the U.S. state of Georgia. Established in 1733, the city of Savannah was the colonial capital of the Province of Georgia and later the first state capital of Georgia. Today Savannah is an industrial center and an important...

.

In January 1880, Cuba was the center of two strong earthquakes that sent severe shock waves through the city of Key West, Florida
Key West, Florida
Key West is a city in Monroe County, Florida, United States. The city encompasses the island of Key West, the part of Stock Island north of U.S. 1 , Sigsbee Park , Fleming Key , and Sunset Key...

.

The shock from the 1886 Charleston, South Carolina, earthquake was felt throughout northern Florida, ringing church bells at St. Augustine and severely jolting other towns along that section of Florida's east coast. Jacksonville residents felt many of the strong aftershocks that occurred in September, October, and November 1886.

In 2006, a magnitude 6.0 earthquake centered about 260 miles (418.4 km) southwest of Tampa in the Gulf of Mexico sent shock waves through southwest and central Florida. The earthquake was too small to trigger a tsunami and no damage was reported.|

Population



Florida has the 4th highest state population in the United States. The center of population
Center of population
In demographics, the center of population of a region is a geographical point that describes a centerpoint of the region's population...

 of Florida is located in Polk County
Polk County, Florida
Polk County is located in central Florida between the Tampa Bay and Greater Orlando metropolitan areas. The county was established by the state government in 1861 on the eve of the American Civil War and named after former United States president James K. Polk. The county seat is Bartow and its...

, in the town of Lake Wales
Lake Wales, Florida
Lake Wales is a city in Polk County, Florida, United States. The population was 10,194 at the 2000 census. As of 2004, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau is 11,802 . It is part of the Lakeland–Winter Haven Metropolitan Statistical Area...

. As of 2009, Florida's population was estimated to be 18,537,969. The state grew 128,814, or 0.7% from 2007. Using the latest population estimates, Florida is the nation's thirtieth-fastest-growing state. During Florida's peak growth year of 2005, it was the nation's fifth fastest growing state and grew at an annual rate of 2.2%.

About two-thirds of the population was born in another state, the second highest in the country.

The state had the third largest illegal immigrant population in the country in 2009. In 2010, illegal immigrants constituted an estimated 5.7% of the population. This was the sixth highest percentage of any state in the country. There were an estimated 675,000 illegal immigrants in the state in 2010.

There were 186,102 military retirees living in the state in 2008.

Racial makeup


According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Florida had a population of 18,801,310. In terms of race and ethnicity, the state was:
  • 75.0% White (57.9% Non-Hispanic White alone)
  • 16.0% Black or African American
  • 0.4% American Indian and Alaska Native
  • 2.4% Asian
  • 0.1% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander
  • 3.6% from Some Other Race
  • 2.5% from Two or More Races
  • Hispanics and Latinos of any race made up 22.5% of the population.

Ancestry groups


The largest reported ancestries in the 2000 Census were German (11.8%), Irish
Irish people
The Irish people are an ethnic group who originate in Ireland, an island in northwestern Europe. Ireland has been populated for around 9,000 years , with the Irish people's earliest ancestors recorded having legends of being descended from groups such as the Nemedians, Fomorians, Fir Bolg, Tuatha...

 (10.3%), English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

 (9.2%), American (8%), Italian
Italian people
The Italian people are an ethnic group that share a common Italian culture, ancestry and speak the Italian language as a mother tongue. Within Italy, Italians are defined by citizenship, regardless of ancestry or country of residence , and are distinguished from people...

 (6.3%), Cuban
Cuban American
A Cuban American is a United States citizen who traces his or her "national origin" to Cuba. Cuban Americans are also considered native born Americans with Cuban parents or Cuban-born persons who were raised and educated in US...

 (5.2%), Puerto Rican
Puerto Ricans in the United States
Stateside Puerto Ricans are American citizens of Puerto Rican origin, including those who migrated from Puerto Rico to the United States and those who were born outside of Puerto Rico in the United States...

 (3.0%) French
French people
The French are a nation that share a common French culture and speak the French language as a mother tongue. Historically, the French population are descended from peoples of Celtic, Latin and Germanic origin, and are today a mixture of several ethnic groups...

 (2.8%), Polish (2.7%) and Scottish
Scottish people
The Scottish people , or Scots, are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland. Historically they emerged from an amalgamation of the Picts and Gaels, incorporating neighbouring Britons to the south as well as invading Germanic peoples such as the Anglo-Saxons and the Norse.In modern use,...

 (1.8%).

In the 2000 Census, 1,278,586 people in Florida self-identified as having "American" ancestry, most of these people are of English descent and some are of Scots-Irish descent however have families that have been in the state so long, in many cases since the colonial period, that they choose to identify simply as having "American" ancestry or do not in fact know their own ancestry. In the 1980 United States census
United States Census
The United States Census is a decennial census mandated by the United States Constitution. The population is enumerated every 10 years and the results are used to allocate Congressional seats , electoral votes, and government program funding. The United States Census Bureau The United States Census...

 the largest ancestry group reported in Florida was English
English American
English Americans are citizens or residents of the United States whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in England....

 with 2,232,514 Floridians citing that they were of English
English American
English Americans are citizens or residents of the United States whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in England....

 or mostly English
English American
English Americans are citizens or residents of the United States whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in England....

 ancestry. Their ancestry primarily goes back to the original thirteen colonies and for this reason many of them today simply claim "American" ancestry, though they are of predominately English
English American
English Americans are citizens or residents of the United States whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in England....

 stock. They were followed by Irish
Irish American
Irish Americans are citizens of the United States who can trace their ancestry to Ireland. A total of 36,278,332 Americans—estimated at 11.9% of the total population—reported Irish ancestry in the 2008 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau...

 at 1,617,433.

Before the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, when slavery
History of slavery in the United States
Slavery in the United States was a form of slave labor which existed as a legal institution in North America for more than a century before the founding of the United States in 1776, and continued mostly in the South until the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in...

 was legal, and during the Reconstruction era that followed, blacks
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

 made up nearly half of the state's population. Their proportion declined over the next century, as many moved north in the Great Migration
Great Migration (African American)
The Great Migration was the movement of 6 million blacks out of the Southern United States to the Northeast, Midwest, and West from 1910 to 1970. Some historians differentiate between a Great Migration , numbering about 1.6 million migrants, and a Second Great Migration , in which 5 million or more...

 while large numbers of northern whites
White people
White people is a term which usually refers to human beings characterized, at least in part, by the light pigmentation of their skin...

 moved to the state. Recently, the state's proportion of black residents has begun to grow again. Today, large concentrations of black residents can be found in northern Florida (notably in Jacksonville, Gainesville
Gainesville, Florida
Gainesville is the largest city in, and the county seat of, Alachua County, Florida, United States as well as the principal city of the Gainesville, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area . The preliminary 2010 Census population count for Gainesville is 124,354. Gainesville is home to the sixth...

, Tallahassee
Tallahassee, Florida
Tallahassee is the capital of the U.S. state of Florida. It is the county seat and only incorporated municipality in Leon County, and is the 128th largest city in the United States. Tallahassee became the capital of Florida, then the Florida Territory, in 1824. In 2010, the population recorded by...

, and Pensacola), the Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay is a large natural harbor and estuary along the Gulf of Mexico on the west central coast of Florida, comprising Hillsborough Bay, Old Tampa Bay, Middle Tampa Bay, and Lower Tampa Bay."Tampa Bay" is not the name of any municipality...

 area, the Orlando area, especially in Orlando and Sanford
Sanford, Florida
Sanford is a city in, and the county seat of, Seminole County, Florida, United States. The population was 38,291 at the 2000 census. As of 2009, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau was 50,998...

.

Florida's Hispanic population includes large communities of Cuban Americans in Miami and Tampa, Puerto Ricans
Puerto Ricans in the United States
Stateside Puerto Ricans are American citizens of Puerto Rican origin, including those who migrated from Puerto Rico to the United States and those who were born outside of Puerto Rico in the United States...

 in Orlando and Tampa, and Central American migrant workers in inland West-Central and South Florida. The Hispanic community continues to grow more affluent and mobile.

White American
White American
White Americans are people of the United States who are considered or consider themselves White. The United States Census Bureau defines White people as those "having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa...

s of all European backgrounds are present in all areas of the state. Those of English
English American
English Americans are citizens or residents of the United States whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in England....

 and Irish
Irish American
Irish Americans are citizens of the United States who can trace their ancestry to Ireland. A total of 36,278,332 Americans—estimated at 11.9% of the total population—reported Irish ancestry in the 2008 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau...

 ancestry are present in large numbers in all the urban/suburban areas across the state. Native white Floridians, especially those who have descended from long-time Florida families, affectionately refer to themselves as "Florida cracker
Florida cracker
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 Florida crackers arrived in 1763 when Spain traded Florida to Great Britain...

s". Like whites in most of the other Southern states, they descend mainly from English
English American
English Americans are citizens or residents of the United States whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in England....

 and Scots-Irish
Scots-Irish American
Scotch-Irish Americans are an estimated 250,000 Presbyterian and other Protestant dissenters from the Irish province of Ulster who immigrated to North America primarily during the colonial era and their descendants. Some scholars also include the 150,000 Ulster Protestants who immigrated to...

 settlers, as well as some other British settlers.

Metropolitan areas


Largest cities in Florida
City population > 500,000
City Population Metropolitan area

Jacksonville
Jacksonville, Florida
Jacksonville is the largest city in the U.S. state of Florida in terms of both population and land area, and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. It is the county seat of Duval County, with which the city government consolidated in 1968...


821,784

Greater Jacksonville
City population > 200,000
City Population Metropolitan area

Miami
Miami, Florida
Miami is a city located on the Atlantic coast in southeastern Florida and the county seat of Miami-Dade County, the most populous county in Florida and the eighth-most populous county in the United States with a population of 2,500,625...



Tampa
Tampa, Florida
Tampa is a city in the U.S. state of Florida. It serves as the county seat for Hillsborough County. Tampa is located on the west coast of Florida. The population of Tampa in 2010 was 335,709....



St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg, Florida
St. Petersburg is a city in Pinellas County, Florida, United States. It is known as a vacation destination for both American and foreign tourists. As of 2008, the population estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau is 245,314, making St...



Orlando
Orlando, Florida
Orlando is a city in the central region of the U.S. state of Florida. It is the county seat of Orange County, and the center of the Greater Orlando metropolitan area. According to the 2010 US Census, the city had a population of 238,300, making Orlando the 79th largest city in the United States...



Hialeah
Hialeah, Florida
Hialeah is a city in Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 226,419. As of 2009, the population estimate by the U. S...


399,457

335,709

244,769

238,300

224,669

South Florida
South Florida metropolitan area
The South Florida metropolitan area, also known as the Miami metropolitan area, and designated the Miami–Fort Lauderdale–Pompano Beach, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area by the U.S...



Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay Area
The Tampa Bay Area is the region of west central Florida adjacent to Tampa Bay. Definitions of the region vary. It is often considered equivalent to the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical Area defined by the United States Census Bureau. The Census Bureau currently...



Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay Area
The Tampa Bay Area is the region of west central Florida adjacent to Tampa Bay. Definitions of the region vary. It is often considered equivalent to the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical Area defined by the United States Census Bureau. The Census Bureau currently...



Greater Orlando

South Florida
South Florida metropolitan area
The South Florida metropolitan area, also known as the Miami metropolitan area, and designated the Miami–Fort Lauderdale–Pompano Beach, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area by the U.S...

City population > 150,000
City Population Metropolitan area

Tallahassee
Tallahassee, Florida
Tallahassee is the capital of the U.S. state of Florida. It is the county seat and only incorporated municipality in Leon County, and is the 128th largest city in the United States. Tallahassee became the capital of Florida, then the Florida Territory, in 1824. In 2010, the population recorded by...



Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fort Lauderdale is a city in the U.S. state of Florida, on the Atlantic coast. It is the county seat of Broward County. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 165,521. It is a principal city of the South Florida metropolitan area, which was home to 5,564,635 people at the 2010...



Port Saint Lucie

Pembroke Pines
Pembroke Pines, Florida
Pembroke Pines is a city in Broward County, Florida, United States. The city had a population of 154,750 at the 2010 census, making it the second most populous city in Broward County, the tenth most populous in Florida, and the 150th most populous in the United States...



Cape Coral
Cape Coral, Florida
Cape Coral is a municipality located in Lee County, Florida, United States, on the Gulf of Mexico. Founded in 1957 and developed as a master-planned, pre-platted community, the city grew to a population of 154,305 by the year 2010. With an area of , Cape Coral is the largest city between Tampa and...


181,376

165,521

164,603

154,750

154,305

Tallahassee
Tallahassee, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area
The Tallahassee metropolitan area is the metropolitan area centered on Tallahassee, Florida.The Tallahassee Metropolitan Statistical Area is a metropolitan statistical area designated by the Office of Management and Budget and used by the Census Bureau and other agencies for statistical purposes...



South Florida
South Florida metropolitan area
The South Florida metropolitan area, also known as the Miami metropolitan area, and designated the Miami–Fort Lauderdale–Pompano Beach, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area by the U.S...



Port St. Lucie

South Florida
South Florida metropolitan area
The South Florida metropolitan area, also known as the Miami metropolitan area, and designated the Miami–Fort Lauderdale–Pompano Beach, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area by the U.S...



Cape Coral-Fort Myers
City population > 100,000
City Population Metropolitan area

Hollywood
Hollywood, Florida
-Demographics:As of 2000, there were 59,673 households out of which 24.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.5% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.2% were non-families. 34.4% of all households were made up of...



Gainesville
Gainesville, Florida
Gainesville is the largest city in, and the county seat of, Alachua County, Florida, United States as well as the principal city of the Gainesville, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area . The preliminary 2010 Census population count for Gainesville is 124,354. Gainesville is home to the sixth...



Miramar
Miramar, Florida
Miramar is a city in Broward County, Florida, United States. The city was named after the Miramar district of Havana, Cuba. As of the 2010 census, the population was 122,041...

 

Coral Springs
Coral Springs, Florida
Coral Springs, officially chartered July 10, 1963, is a city in Broward County, Florida, United States, approximately northwest of Fort Lauderdale. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city had a population of 121,096...

 

Clearwater
Clearwater, Florida
Clearwater is a city located in Pinellas County, Florida, US, nearly due west of Tampa and northwest of St. Petersburg. In the west of Clearwater lies the Gulf of Mexico and in the east lies Tampa Bay. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 108,787. It is the county seat of...

 

Miami Gardens
Miami Gardens, Florida
Miami Gardens is a Miami suburban city located in Miami-Dade County, Florida. The city name comes from one of the major roadways through the area, Miami Gardens Drive. According to the 2010 U.S...



Palm Bay
Palm Bay, Florida
Palm Bay is a city in Brevard County, Florida, United States. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city's population as 100,786 on 1 July 2008; it is the most populous city in the county...


140,768

124,354

122,041

121,096

107,685

107,167

103,190

South Florida
South Florida metropolitan area
The South Florida metropolitan area, also known as the Miami metropolitan area, and designated the Miami–Fort Lauderdale–Pompano Beach, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area by the U.S...



Gainesville
Gainesville, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area
The Gainesville, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area is a metropolitan statistical area designated by the Office of Management and Budget and used for statistical purposes by the Census Bureau and other agencies. The metropolitan statistical area comprises Alachua and Gilchrist counties within...



South Florida
South Florida metropolitan area
The South Florida metropolitan area, also known as the Miami metropolitan area, and designated the Miami–Fort Lauderdale–Pompano Beach, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area by the U.S...



South Florida
South Florida metropolitan area
The South Florida metropolitan area, also known as the Miami metropolitan area, and designated the Miami–Fort Lauderdale–Pompano Beach, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area by the U.S...



Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay Area
The Tampa Bay Area is the region of west central Florida adjacent to Tampa Bay. Definitions of the region vary. It is often considered equivalent to the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical Area defined by the United States Census Bureau. The Census Bureau currently...



South Florida
South Florida metropolitan area
The South Florida metropolitan area, also known as the Miami metropolitan area, and designated the Miami–Fort Lauderdale–Pompano Beach, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area by the U.S...



Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville

The largest metropolitan area
Metropolitan area
The term metropolitan area refers to a region consisting of a densely populated urban core and its less-populated surrounding territories, sharing industry, infrastructure, and housing. A metropolitan area usually encompasses multiple jurisdictions and municipalities: neighborhoods, townships,...

 in the state as well as the entire southeastern United States is the South Florida metropolitan area
South Florida metropolitan area
The South Florida metropolitan area, also known as the Miami metropolitan area, and designated the Miami–Fort Lauderdale–Pompano Beach, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area by the U.S...

, with about 5.5 million people. The Tampa Bay area
Tampa Bay Area
The Tampa Bay Area is the region of west central Florida adjacent to Tampa Bay. Definitions of the region vary. It is often considered equivalent to the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical Area defined by the United States Census Bureau. The Census Bureau currently...

, with over 2.7 million people, is the second largest metro area and Greater Orlando, with over 2.1 million people, is the third.

Florida has twenty Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) defined by the United States Office of Management and Budget
United States Office of Management and Budget
The Office of Management and Budget is a Cabinet-level office, and is the largest office within the Executive Office of the President of the United States .The current OMB Director is Jacob Lew.-History:...

 (OMB). Thirty-nine of Florida's sixty-seven counties are in an MSA. Reflecting the distribution of population in Florida, Metropolitan areas in the state are concentrated around the coast of the peninsula. They form a continuous band on the east coast of Florida, stretching from the Jacksonville MSA to the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach MSA, including every county on the east coast, with the exception of Monroe County
Monroe County, Florida
Monroe County is a county located in the state of Florida. As of 2000, the population was 79,589. The U.S. Census Bureau 2006 estimate for the county was 74,737....

. There is also a continuous band of MSAs on the west coast of the peninsula from the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater MSA to the Naples-Marco Island MSA, including all of the coastal counties from Hernando County
Hernando County, Florida
Hernando County is a county located in the U.S. state of Florida. As of 2000, the population was 130,802. The U.S. Census Bureau 2006 estimate for the county is 165,409 . Its county seat is Brooksville, Florida. The majority of the county's population is in Spring Hill, west portion of Hernando...

 to Collier County
Collier County, Florida
Collier County is a county located in the U.S. state of Florida. As of 2000, the population was 251,377. The U.S. Census Bureau 2007 estimate for the county is 315,839...

. The interior of the northern half of the peninsula also has several MSAs, connecting the east and west coast MSAs. A few MSAs are scattered across the Florida panhandle.

Languages


As of 2005, 74.54% of Florida residents age 5 and older spoke English at home as a first language, while 18.65% spoke Spanish, and French Creole (predominantly Haitian Creole) was spoken by 1.73% of the population. In all, 25.45% of Florida's population age 5 and older spoke a language other than English.

Florida's climate makes it a popular state for immigrants. Florida's public education
Public education
State schools, also known in the United States and Canada as public schools,In much of the Commonwealth, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, the terms 'public education', 'public school' and 'independent school' are used for private schools, that is, schools...

 system identified over 150 first languages other than English spoken in the homes of students. In 1990, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
League of United Latin American Citizens
The League of United Latin American Citizens was created to combat the discrimination that Hispanics face in the United States. Established February 17, 1929 in Corpus Christi, Texas, LULAC was a consolidation of smaller, like-minded civil rights groups already in existence...

 won a class action lawsuit against the state Florida Department of Education
Florida Department of Education
The Florida Department of Education is the state education agency of Florida. It governs public education and manages funding and testing for local educational agencies . It is headquartered in the Turlington Building in Tallahassee.The Florida Commissioner of Education manages the day-to-day...

 that required educators to be trained in teaching English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
English language learning and teaching
English as a second language , English for speakers of other languages and English as a foreign language all refer to the use or study of English by speakers with different native languages. The precise usage, including the different use of the terms ESL and ESOL in different countries, is...

.