Florida, also known as the Sunshine State is located in the southernmost part of the United States in the southeast region. Georgia, Alabama, The Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean border Florida. The state is the 22nd largest with 65,755 square miles. The population of Florida in 2017 was just under 21 million, making it the 3rd most populated and the 8th most densely populated state in the U.S.
Tallahassee is the capital of Florida with just over 190,000 Floridians, whereas the largest city in Florida is Jacksonville with approximately 907,529 citizens. The Miami metropolitan area is the largest metro area in Florida with a population over 6.06 million. Other populous cities in Florida include Orlando, Tampa, Kissimmee, St. Petersburg, and Fort Lauderdale. Due to the climate, flora, and species, alongside Hawaii, Florida is the only other state that has tropical regions.
The name Florida came from the Spanish word “La Florida”, or the “land of flowers”. This was coined by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León, who was also the first European settler to make contact with Florida, in 1513. Florida would ultimately be sought after and fought over by many groups of people including more Spaniards, the French, and the British. During the early to mid 1700’s, many Africans and African-Americans found refuge and freedom from slavery, in Florida.
Americans of English, Irish, and Scottish descent living in Georgia and Florida migrated to northern Florida in late 1700s into the early 1800s, but were never banished by the Spanish. The U.S. gained parts of Northern Florida as a part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1810 and gradually increased its annexation on the state. Florida eventually became a burden on Spain and Florida became the 27th state to join the U.S. union on March 3rd, 1845.
Florida was influenced by many groups of people including the indigenous, Africans, Europeans, and Latinos. Today, Florida has a large Cuban expatriate community, with further adds to the unique culture and society of the state. In 2013, Hispanic or Latino individuals made up almost 24% of the Floridian population. The median household income of Floridians is $48,825 making it the 41st out of 50th highest income in the U.S.
The state motto is “In God We Trust” and the state songs are “Old Folks at Home” and “Where the Sawgrass Meets the Sky.”
Florida is also known for its amusement parks (Disney World and Universal Studios), retiree communities, as well as its orange crops, and the Kennedy Space Center, one of ten National Aeronautics and Space Administration centers in the United States. Florida is also known for its wide variety of sport culture. Florida has 2 MLB teams, 2 NBA teams, one MLS team, 3 NFL teams, a NASCAR International Speedway in Daytona, and is a popular destination for golf and tennis. Florida state universities are also known for their collegiate sports programs.
Many film and television stars, as well as musicians and entertainers were born in Florida. Singer Ariana Grande, Co-Anchor Maggie Rodriguez, actor Wilmer Valderrama, film director Hugh Wilson, musician Tom Petty, rapper Flo Rida, and actor Raúl Esparza are just a select few who were born in the Sunshine State.