GEOGRAPHICAL FACTS

Total Area – 58,560 square miles

Total land area – 54,136 square miles

Total water area – 4,424 square miles

Rank among states in total area – 22nd

Length north and south – 447 miles (St. Marys River to Key West)

Width east and west – 361 miles (Atlantic Ocean to Perdido River)

Distance from Pensacola to Key West – 792 miles (by road)

Highest Natural Point – 345 feet

Geographic Center – 12 miles northwest of Brooksville, Hernando County

Coastline – 1,197 statute miles

Tidal shoreline (general) – 2,276 statute miles

Beaches – 663 miles

Longest River – St. Johns, 273 miles

Largest Lake – Lake Okeechobee, 700 square miles

Largest county – Palm Beach, 2,578 square miles

Smallest county – Union, 245 square miles

Number of lakes (greater than 10 acres) – about 7,700

Number of first-magnitude springs – 33

Number of islands (greater than 10 acres) – about 4,500
Historical facts

First permanent European settlement – 1565, St. Augustine, by Spain

Acquired from Spain as a U.S. Territory – 1821

Admitted as 27th state of the U.S. – March 3, 1845
Current facts

Capital – Tallahassee

Population 2005 (estimate) – 17,789,864 (Rank 4th)

Population 2004 (estimate) – 17,397,161 (Rank 4th)

Population 2000 – 15,982,378 (Rank 4th)

Population 1990 – 12,937,926

Population 1980 – 9,739,992

Population growth rate 2000-2005 (estimate) – 11.31%

Population growth rate 1990-2000 – 23.53%

Most populous metropolitan area 2003 – Miami-Ft. Lauderdale: 5,289,000 (estimate – Ranked 6th in the US)

Most populous metropolitan area 2000 – Miami-Ft. Lauderdale: 3,876,380

Most populous County 2005 – Miami-Dade County: 2,376,014 (estimate)

Number of counties – 67

Form of government – Governor and cabinet consisting of Attorney General, Chief Financial Officer and Commissioner of Agriculture

State sales tax – 6%

State income tax – None

Legislature – 120 house districts, 40 senate districts, 25 congressional districts

Sources:
US Census Bureau

Interesting Geographic Names In Florida

Florida has e a lot of cities and rivers that are derived from Native American and/or Spanish terms.
Here are a few favorites:

* Altamonte (as in Altamonte Springs) means “high hill”. Remember, “high” is relative in Florida — we’re a pretty flat state.
* Apalachicola means “those people living on the other shore”. Well, the Apalachicola River is pretty wide….
* Boca Ciega (as in Boca Ciega Bay) translates to “blind mouth”.
* Boca Raton roughly translates to “rat’s mouth” (hmmm). The name refers to some hidden rocks near to shore.
* Caloosahatchee means “river of the Calusa” which is a Native American tribe.
* Canaveral (as in Cape Canaveral) means “place of reeds or cane”. If you’ve ever been in the Cape back country, you can appreciate the name.
* Chattahoochee is roughly translated as “marked rock”. It’s the name of both a river and a city.
* Hialeah means “pretty prairie”.
* Homosassa means “place where the wild peppers grow”.
* Islamorada means “purple island”.
* Kissimmee means “heaven’s place”. By the way, the name is pronounced Ki-SIM-mee, not “KISS-i-mee”.
* Loxahatchee means “river of turtles”.
* Miami means (variously) “all beavers”, “all friends”, “cry of the crane” and “people who live on the peninsula” and “very large”. The name sure does get around! In this case, it’s thought to derive from Mayaimi, referring to the very large nearby Lake Okeechobee.
* Ocala means “heavily clouded”.
* Palata is derived from “ferry, ford or crossing” since it was a major trading post on the St. John’s River.
* Panasoffkee is translated as “deep valley”.
* Punta Gorda means “fat point”, referring to some land jutting out into the bay.
* Steinhatchee translates to “dead man’s creek”. Don’t guess I’m going to be moving there anytime soon….
* Tallahassee — there are divided views on this one, but after some research I’m going to have to go with the translation of the Muskogee Indian word meaning “old town”.
* Wauchula is interesting, roughly meaning “cow house” — a barn maybe. Of course there is always the fact that COW stands for County of Wauchula…could it be that’s what got it all started?
* Weeki Wachee (as in Weeki Wachee Springs) means “little spring”.
* Wewahitchka probably means “water eyes”.