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The Florida Portal

Florida is a state located in the Southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia, to the east by the Bahamas and Atlantic Ocean, and to the south by the Straits of Florida and Cuba; it is the only state that borders both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Spanning 65,758 square miles, Florida ranks 22nd in area among the 50 states, and with a population of over 21 million, is the third-most populous. The state capital is Tallahassee and the most populous city is Jacksonville. The Miami metropolitan area, with a population of almost 6.2 million, is the most populous urban area in Florida and the seventh-most populous in the United States; other urban conurbations with over one million people are Tampa Bay, Orlando, and Jacksonville.

Various Native American groups have inhabited Florida for at least 14,000 years. In 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León became the first known European to make landfall, calling the region La Florida ([la flo'?iða] for its lush greenery and the Easter season (Pascua Florida in Spanish). Florida subsequently became the first area in the continental U.S. to be permanently settled by Europeans, with the Spanish colony of St. Augustine, founded in 1565, being the oldest continuously inhabited city. Florida was repeatedly contested by Spain and Great Britain, before being ceded to the U.S. in 1819; it was admitted as the 27th state on March 3, 1845. Florida was the principal location of the Seminole Wars (1816-1858), the longest and most extensive of the Indian Wars in U.S. history. The state seceded from the Union on January 10, 1861, becoming one of the seven original Confederate States. After the Civil War, Florida was restored to the Union on June 25, 1868.

Since the mid-20th century, Florida has experienced rapid demographic and economic growth. Its $1.0 trillion economy is the fourth-largest of any U.S. state and the 16th-largest in the world; the main sectors are tourism, hospitality, agriculture, real estate, and transportation. Florida is world-renowned for its beach resorts, amusement parks, warm and sunny climate, and nautical recreation; attractions such as Walt Disney World, the Kennedy Space Center, and Miami Beach draw tens of millions of visitors annually. Florida is a popular destination for retirees, seasonal vacationers, and both domestic and international migrants; it hosts nine out of the ten fastest-growing communities in the U.S. The state's close proximity to the ocean has shaped its culture, identity, and daily life; its colonial history and successive waves of migration are reflected in African, European, Indigenous, Latino, and Asian influences. Florida has attracted or inspired writers such as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams, and continues to attract celebrities and athletes, particularly in golf, tennis, auto racing, and water sports. (Full article...)

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A map of Florida's counties with counties labeled. Florida is shaped liked an "L" rotated 180 degrees. Many of the county borders follow the winding courses of river, some are straight. Some of larger counties tend to be in the center of the State.
Florida counties (clickable map)

There are 67 counties in the U.S. state of Florida. It became a territory of the U.S. in 1821 with two counties complementing the provincial divisions retained as a Spanish territory: Escambia to the west and St. Johns to the east, divided by the Suwannee River. All of the other counties were apportioned from these two original counties. Florida became the 27th U.S. state in 1845, and its last county was created in 1925 with the formation of Gilchrist County from a segment of Alachua County. Florida's counties are subdivisions of the state government. In 1968, counties gained the power to develop their own charters. All but two of Florida's county seats are incorporated municipalities: the exceptions are Crawfordville, county seat of rural Wakulla County, and East Naples, located outside Naples city limits in Collier County.

The names of Florida's counties reflect its diverse cultural heritage. Some are named for Confederate political leaders and Spanish explorers, marking the influence of Spanish sovereignty, while others are named for Christian saints, Native American sites, and political leaders of the United States. Natural features of the region, including rivers, lakes, and flora, are also commonly used for county names. Florida has counties named for participants on both sides of Second Seminole War: Miami-Dade County is partially named for Francis L. Dade, a major in the U.S. Army at the time; Osceola County is named for the war's native Muscogee-Seminole resistance leader Osceola. (Full article...)

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Jeb Bush
Florida is a place of unparalleled diversity of backgrounds, experiences and vision. It makes our culture unique, but it can also make it difficult to define a common identity and create a sense of community that reaches beyond our neighborhoods to all corners of our state

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Nancy Helen Marcus (May 17, 1950 - February 12, 2018) was an American biologist and oceanographer. During her graduate studies, Marcus became known as an expert on copepod ecology and evolutionary biology. She began her career as a postdoctoral fellow at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution where she studied copepod dormancy and its implications for marine aquaculture. She continued her field research as a professor of oceanography and later as the director of the Florida State University Marine Laboratory (FSU). During this time Marcus was elected as a Fellow of the Association for Women in Science and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and served as the President of the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography. As the president, she led efforts in increase education activities and to increase the endowment fund.

In 2005, Marcus transitioned from the sciences to college administration when she was appointed Dean of the FSU Graduate School. During her tenure, FSU nearly doubled the number of doctoral degrees awarded annually. She created several graduate academic programs and the FSU Office of Graduate Fellowships and Awards. Marcus served a term as chair of the Board of Directors for the Council of Graduate Schools to address the future of graduate education. Outside of academia, Marcus was a magician and ventriloquist. She served on the Goucher College Board of Trustees from 2009 to 2016 and was previously the chair of the academic affairs committee. Marcus died on February 12, 2018 after two years of treatment for uveal melanoma. (Full article...)

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Current events

September 18, 2021 -
SpaceX's Inspiration4 mission lands in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida, completing the first all-civilian orbital spaceflight. (AFP via Mint)
September 1, 2021 - 2021 Atlantic hurricane season
The upcoming New Orleans Saints matchup against the Green Bay Packers will be moved from New Orleans to Jacksonville's TIAA Bank Field following damage from Ida. (Forbes)
August 27, 2021 - COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic in Florida
A Leon County judge strikes down the mask mandate ban imposed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. (NBC News)


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A view from the top of the Citrus Tower
Credit: Ebyabe

The Florida Citrus Tower is a 1956-built tower, standing 226 feet tall. The tower is notable as the most famous landmark of the Orlando area; its top is the highest point in Florida, and it is the highest observation point in Florida.


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  1. ^ "Cuba's most famous food isn't even from Cuba -- or Miami". Matador Network.
  2. ^ "Viva La Cuban Sandwich!". Farmers' Almanac. March 20, 2015.


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