15 Fascinating Facts About Florida

Did you know that Central Florida is the most lightning-prone area in the entire United States?

Florida, also known as the “Sunshine State”, became the 27th state to join the United States on March 3, 1845.

The state of Florida has 67 counties and its capital is Tallahassee. With a population of 21.3 million people, it is the third most populous state in the US. Let’s explore what makes Florida unique.

Florida is bordered by Alabama and Georgia, and is the 22nd largest state with a total area of 65,758 square miles (170,312 km²) of land and water.

Now that we know the basic facts, let’s dive into some interesting tidbits that make Florida stand out!

Approximately two-thirds of Florida is a peninsula.

Aside from its borders with Alabama and Georgia, Florida’s largest borders are with the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

Florida’s coastline is the longest among the contiguous US states, with a whopping 1,350 miles (2,170 km), and includes 4,510 islands that are 10 acres or larger!

Central Florida is the lightning capital of the United States.

Florida’s nickname as the “Sunshine State” is ironic, as severe weather is common here, especially in the central region.

Central Florida experiences more lightning strikes than any other area in the US and has the most tornadoes per area as well. Florida is also the most hurricane-prone state in the US.

Florida was the first continental US state to be settled by Europeans.

In 1513, Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León arrived on the peninsula and named it La Florida.

The origin of the name is uncertain, but it may have been named after the beautiful wildflowers found in the area or the Spanish festival Pascua Florida (Festival of Flowers), which was being celebrated at the time of their arrival.

Florida is the only place in the world where you can find both crocodiles and alligators.

In the Everglades National Park, the largest tropical wilderness in the US, you can find both alligators and the American crocodile, a protected species.

The Everglades National Park is home to 38 different protected species, including the West Indian manatee and the Florida panther, one of the most endangered mammals on the planet.

Florida’s population has been rapidly increasing since the early 20th century.

In the 19th Century, Florida was a peaceful place, but after World War II, the state’s population grew rapidly due to military spending. Cuban exiles also fled to Florida in the 1950s. Great Britain obtained control of Florida from Spain in exchange for Havana, Cuba, but lost it to Spain in 1783 after the American Revolution. Later, in 1819, the US purchased Florida. The Walt Disney World Resort in Florida employs a record-breaking 70,000 people and attracts millions of visitors every year. However, rising sea levels may put beachfront properties in Miami at risk of flooding by 2100. Despite this, Florida remains a top holiday destination, with over 126.1 million visitors in 2018. Venice, Florida is also known as the shark tooth capital of the world due to the abundance of fossilized shark teeth from millions of years ago when the area was underwater.

In Florida, it has become a popular pastime to search the beaches for shark teeth. The state is known for its strange and bizarre happenings, with a quick Google search of “Florida man” turning up countless hilarious news articles. The space industry in the state is booming, with NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center being the most famous launch site. Sunscreen may have been invented in Florida by physician Benjamin Green, who created Coppertone sunscreen. Florida used to be home to the fifth oldest tree in the world, a Bald Cypress that tragically burned down due to a woman accidentally setting it on fire while smoking. Finally, Florida has over 9,200 miles of biking, hiking, and horseback riding trails across its many state and national parks, making it a popular tourist destination.

Florida: The Sunshine State

Despite occasional extreme weather, Florida boasts mostly sunny days throughout the year. This makes it ideal for those who love basking in the sun, exploring national parks, enjoying state-of-the-art amusement parks, or simply relaxing on the beach. Regardless of your interests, there’s always a compelling reason to visit Florida!

FAQ

1. What is the origin of Florida’s name?

Florida was first named by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León, who landed on the peninsula on Easter Sunday in 1513. He named the land “La Florida,” which means “land of flowers” in Spanish.

2. What is Florida’s state bird?

The state bird of Florida is the Northern Mockingbird. It was designated as the state bird in 1927 because of its beautiful singing and its prevalence throughout the state.

3. What is the oldest city in Florida?

The oldest continuously inhabited city in Florida is St. Augustine, which was founded by Spanish explorers in 1565. It is also the oldest city in the United States that was established by European settlers.

4. What is Florida’s state animal?

The state animal of Florida is the Florida Panther, which is a subspecies of the cougar. It is a critically endangered species, with only around 120 individuals remaining in the wild.

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