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Florida State Guide

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Florida is a state in the southeastern region of the United States. It is the 4th most populous state of the nation and has

Florida is a state in the southeastern region of the United States. Image source:
http://www.fdle.state.fl.us

a population of 19,421,200 (Rank 4th) [1]. It was acquired from Spain as a U.S. Territory in 1821 and became a 27th state of the U.S. on March 3, 1845[2]. Its capital is Tallahassee. It comprises of 67 counties and its legislature comprises Governor and cabinet consisting of Attorney General, Chief Financial Officer and Commissioner of Agriculture.

History of Florida

Florida was always rich in environment supported by large number of plants and animals which made it easy for settlers. The sea level of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico was very diverse 12,000 years ago [2]. So, the Florida peninsula was more than two times as hefty as it is now.

Colonization

Britain gained power of Florida in 1763 in swap over for Havana, Cuba, which the British had confined from Spain during the Seven Years' War (1756–63) [3]. Spain vacated Florida after the swap, leaving the region almost empty. Florida was split into two parts: East Florida, with its capital at St. Augustine; and West Florida, with its seat at Pensacola. The territorial status was soon granted to Florida, the two Florida's were merged into one entity with a new capital city in Tallahassee. Tallahassee was selected because it was in middle between the existing governmental centers of St. Augustine and Pensacola.

Statehood

Florida became the twenty-seventh state in the United States on March 3, 1845. William D. Moseley was chosen as
Florida became the twenty-seventh state in the United States on March 3, 1845. Image source:
http://dos.myflorida.com/

the new state's first governor. By 1850 the population had grown to 87,445, including about 39,000 African American slaves and 1,000 free blacks [4]. Florida united with other southern states to form the Confederate States of America.

Civil War

Tallahassee was not captured during the war and hence secured by southern victories at Olustee (1864) and Natural Bridge (1865). Eventually, the South was later conquered and federal troops occupied Tallahassee on May 10, 1865 [5].

Reconstruction

In 1868, the federal government started a program called "reconstruction" in Florida and the other southern states [5]. In this program, Republican officeholders tried to ratify changes, many of which were aimed at improving situations for African Americans.

Development of State

Cigar manufacturing Industries and cattle-raising took roots in Florida in the nineteenth century. The growth of commerce throughout the state encouraged the building of roads and railroads on a big scale. Steamboat tours on Florida's winding rivers soon became a popular destination for these visitors. The citrus industry was a boom since it was now possible to pick oranges in south Florida; put them on a train heading north; and eat them in Baltimore, Philadelphia, or New York in less than a week. The real estate growth hastily fascinated buyers, and land in Florida reached inflated levels.

Great Depression in Florida

Depression entered Florida in 1926 before the Great Depression in the entire nation 1929 when money and credit ran out and banks stopped trusting the "paper" millionaires. Florida's citrus production was cut by about sixty percent.

World War II

Because of its mild climate, Florida became the major training centre for soldiers. Highway and airport construction was at peak during the war for the soldiers, so eventually Florida had an up-to-date transportation network ready for use by residents. Several major U.S. corporations have moved their headquarters to Florida. Florida is also home to major international airports. Due to better roads and transportation large migrations took place to the Florida. The U.S. space program from Cape Canaveral, development of the space shuttle program and lunar landings has helped state gain media attention.

See the complete list of past Governor’s here.

Some Historical facts [1]
  • 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

Geography of Florida

It is a state in the United States, bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the south by the Straits of Florida. Its total land area is 54,136 square miles and total water area is 4,424 square miles. Florida is divided into 67 counties [1]. Florida’s location near the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea has made it a crossroads of European, North American, and South American.

Florida is home to many earthly ecosystems that comprises of small islands of subtropical hammocks to vast flatwoods, sandhills, dry prairies, scrubs and floodplain forests. The state’s peninsular geography covers temperate and subtropical zones, which combined with its distinctive geology and climate adds to habitat diversity as well as an amazing array of species.

Atlantic Coastal Plain

This area stretches from Cape Cod, Massachusetts south and around the Florida Peninsula and the Gulf of Mexico. It is a division of the Atlantic Plain, and covers the whole eastern part of Florida. There is also a coral reefs, narrow strip of sand bars and barrier islands. The largest island of this plain is Key Largo.

East Gulf Coastal Plain

It is also a division of the Atlantic Plain similar to the Atlantic Coastal Plain and lies in two sections of Florida. The sections are divided by a portion of the Florida Uplands. On the other face of the Florida peninsula The East Gulf Coastal Plain is similar to the Atlantic Coastal Plain. Barrier islands sprints beside the coastal swampland extends inland and west coast of Florida.

Florida Uplands

This area expands from the north, south and to the east, to divide the two divisions of the East Gulf Coastal Plain and
Submerged Lands and Environmental ResourceImage source:
http://www.dep.state.fl.us/
to separate the East Gulf Coastal Plain from the Atlantic Coastal Plain. The landscape in the southern Florida Uplands has many low hills and lakes. The highest point in Florida is found in the Florida Uplands that run along the northern edge of the panhandle.

Climate in Florida

Florida is divided into two climatic zones which includes warm temperate in the north and tropical in the south.

Highest Temperature- The highest temperature recorded in Florida is 109 Fahrenheit. This record high was recorded on June 29, 1931 at Monticello.

Lowest Temperature- The lowest temperature in Florida, -2 was recorded on February 13, 1899 at Tallahassee, the state capital.

Average Temperature-The average temperatures varies from a high of 91.7 degrees to a low of 39.9 degrees [6].

Some Geographical Facts-
  • Total land area - 54,136 square miles
  • Total Area - 58,560 square miles
  • Length north and south - 447 miles (St. Marys River to Key West)
  • Distance from Pensacola to Key West - 792 miles (by road)
  • Total water area - 4,424 square miles
  • Beaches - 663 miles
  • Rank among states in total area - 22nd
  • Width east and west - 361 miles (Atlantic Ocean to Perdido River)
  • Tidal shoreline (general) - 2,276 statute miles
  • Highest Natural Point - 345 feet
  • Largest Lake - Lake Okeechobee, 700 square miles
  • Geographic Center - 12 miles northwest of Brooksville, Hernando County
  • Smallest county - Union, 245 square miles
  • Coastline - 1,197 statute miles
  • Number of lakes (greater than 10 acres) - about 7,700
  • Longest River - St. Johns, 273 miles
  • Largest county - Palm Beach, 2,578 square miles
  • Number of islands (greater than 10 acres) - about 4,500

Forests in Florida

The Apalachicola National Forest

The Apalachicola National Forest is the major forest in Florida with a plenty of chilly and natural water streams, lakes, rivers and natural springs. It offers entertaining opportunities for everyone with rivers, streams, trails, and forest roads providing access to quiet spots and wire grass habitats that have otherwise gone from most of the southern United States.

Contact Details
Apalachicola Ranger District
11152 NW SR 20
Bristol, Florida 32321
(850) 643-2282

Visit the website

The Osceola National Forest

This forest provides a wide range of amazing experiences such as wildlife viewing, hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, swimming, riding
Major forests of FloridaImage source:
http://www.fs.usda.gov/
horse trails and many more. Most of the amusement areas in the Osceola National Forest are gathered close to the southern and western edges of the forest, particularly around Ocean Pond, a must visit destination for many. Wilderness areas and dense interior swamps makes Osceola the prime location for nature study.

Contact Details
Osceola Ranger District
24874 US Highway 90
Sanderson, FL 32087
386-752-2577

Visit the website

The Ocala National Forest

The Ocala National Forest is located in the north of Orlando and has the largest sand pine scrub forest in the world. The Forest consists of more than 600 rivers, lakes, and springs where visitors can swim, snorkel, and dive in these crystalline waters.

Contact Details
National Forests in Florida
325 John Knox Road
Suite F-100
Tallahassee, FL 32303
850-523-8500

Visit the website

Demography of Florida

Florida's population was 19,552,860, according to the US Census Bureau's 2013 Population Estimates Program. Over the past 12 months, the median household income of Florida is $46,036 in 2013 inflation-adjusted dollars according to the US Census Bureau's 2013 American Community Survey. Florida has 9,047,973 housing units according to the US Census Bureau's 2013 American Community Survey [7].

Population Quick Facts [1]
  • Capital - Tallahassee
  • Population 2020 (estimate) - 20,216,600 (Rank 4th)
  • Population 2015 (estimate) - 19,421,200 (Rank 4th)
  • Population 2012 (estimate) - 19,074,434 (Rank 4th)
  • Population 2010 - 18,801,310 (Rank 4th)
  • Population 2000 - 15,982,378
  • Most populous County 2015 - Miami-Dade County: 2,600,900 (estimate)
  • Population 1990 - 12,937,926
  • Most populous County 2010 - Miami-Dade County: 2,496,435 (estimate)
  • Population growth rate 2010-2015 (estimate) - 3.3%
  • Most populous County 2020 - Miami-Dade County: 2,722,900 (estimate)
  • Population growth rate 2000-2010 - 17.6%
  • Most populous metropolitan area 2012 - Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Pompano Beach: 5,657,804(estimate -Ranked 8th in the US)
  • Most populous metropolitan area 2010 - Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Pompano Beach: 5,564,635
  • Number of counties – 67

Economy of Florida

Tourism plays a major role in the economy of Florida which includes famous attractions such as Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Miami Beach, Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Everglades National Park, Palm Beach. Florida has also many citrus based industries which lead in the production of tangerines, grapefruits, oranges, and market-ready corn and tomatoes.Other important crop contains sugarcane and many varieties of winter vegetables.

Tourism

Tourism makes up the largest sector of the economy of Florida. Many beach areas such as Miami and Palm Beach are
TourismImage Source:
http://www.visitflorida.com/
the popular tourist destinations, particularly during the breaks in spring and winter. Amusement parks are famous for their adventurous themes such as in the Greater Orlando which brings a majority of tourism. The Port of Miami is the world's largest cruise ship port, and is the headquarters of many of the world largest cruise companies.

Contact Address
Visit Florida
Post Office Box 1100
Tallahassee, Florida 32302-1100
Physical Address: 2540 W. Executive Center Circle, Suite 200 32301
Phone: (850) 488-5607
Fax: (866) 725-5958

Agriculture

Florida is known for the citrus fruits production and leads the state in fabrication of tangerines, grapefruits, oranges
Florida directs the nation in the fabrication of oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, and market-ready corn and tomatoes. Image source:
http://www.dep.state.fl.us/
and market-ready corn and tomatoes. Cattle and dairy products are also important and commercial fishing, which including lobsters, crabs and shrimp. Agriculture is the second largest industry in the state.Some of the major crops include sugarcane and many other winter vegetables.

Contact address
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Division of Agricultural Environmental Services
3125 Conner Blvd., Ste. E
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1650
(850) 617-7900
(850) 617-7939 Fax

Industry

Some of the industries such as Apiculture Industry, Aquaculture , Beef Industry, Environmental Horticulture Industry, Field Crop Industry, Golf Course Industry, Fisheries, Tourism Industry, Sugar Industry, Forest Industries, Citrus Industry, Horticulture Industry, Dairy Industry, Seafood Industry, Small Farms, has a great impact on Florida’s economy.

The citrus industry- The citrus industry remains a major part of Florida's agricultural and natural resource economy. Citrus fruits are the highest value fruit crop in terms of international trade.

Space Industry- The space industry directs the state's economy by giving huge employment opportunities to youths. The average annual wage of aerospace workers is approximately $67,000.

Some of the major Tourist Attraction of Florida

Walt Disney World- It is located in Lake Buena Vista near Orlando and holds the title of the most-visited theme park. It has mainly the four theme parks: Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and The Magic Kingdom.

Miami Beach- It is the main attraction for most tourists heading to Miami. It has been one of America's pre-eminent beach resorts.

Everglades National Park- the Everglades National Park is the largest subtropical wilderness in the continental U.S.
Major tourist destinations of FloridaImage source:
http://www.visitflorida.com/
The whole area is comprises of a wide and shallow river that runs from Lake Okeechobee to the Bay of Florida.

SeaWorld Orlando- It is an amusement park which features dolphin and whale shows, opportunities to experience close up encounters with marine life and see a wide variety of species

Fort Lauderdale Beach- Fort Lauderdale is known as the “Venice of America” and is Located on the Atlantic coast.

Government of Florida

The Government of Florida is fortified by the Constitution of Florida which was ratified on November 5, 1968. The Government of Florida has three branches which consist of The Executive Branch, The Legislative Branch and the Judicial Branch.

The Executive Branch of Government-This branch of the government is made up of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Florida Cabinet.

The Legislative Branch- The legislative branch, the Florida Legislature, consists of the Senate and House.

The Judicial Branch- The Judicial Branch consists of the Appellate Courts and Trial Court. The Appellate Courts comprises of Supreme Court and District Courts of Appeal. The Trial Court comprises of Trial Courts - Circuit and Trial Courts – County.

For more information click here

Transportation in Florida

Florida Department of Transportation works toward the safety and accountability of the state transportation system which helps people of the state moving in and out. The department manages efficient movement of people or goods of the Florida. Florida’s transportation system consists of roadway, airways, railways, seaways, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, spaceports and bus transit.

Contact Details
Jim Boxold
Secretary
605 Suwannee Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0450
Telephone: 850-414-4100
Toll-Free: 866-374-FDOT (3368)

For more information click here

Florida Healthcare

The Florida Department
The Florida Department of Health (DOH) was established by the Florida Legislature in 1996.Image source:
http://www.floridahealth.gov/
of Health works toward the public health and safety of its people and countless visitors of the state of Florida. The Department is accountable to the Executive Office of the Governor, state legislature, all citizens and tourists in the state, and the federal government. The department has its headquarters in Tallahassee.

Contact Details
2585 Merchants Row Boulevard
Tallahassee, FL
Phone: 850 -245-4444

For more information click here

Florida Education

The Florida Education system works for approximately 4,200 public schools, 2.7 million students, 28 colleges, 192,000 teachers,
The Florida Education system serves nearly 2.7 million students, 4,200 public schools, 28 colleges, 192,000 teachers.Image source: http://www.fldoe.org/
47,000 college professors and administrators throughout the state [8]. It consists of all private and public schools in Florida which comprises of the Independent Colleges, Florida College System (FCS), State University System of Florida (SUSF) and Universities of Florida (ICUF).

Number of Schools of various Grade Levels:
  • Elementary Schools: 1,967
  • Middle/Junior High Schools: 609
  • Senior High Schools: 985
  • Combination Schools: 553
  • Adult Schools: 156
  • Total: 4,270 [8]
Contact Details
Pam Stewart
325 West Gaines Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0400
Phone: 850-245-0505
Commissioner@fldoe.org

Taxes in Florida

Major taxes collected in Florida include sales and use tax, intangible tax and corporate income taxes.

Sales Tax- Florida’s general sales tax rate is 6 percent [9]. Each storage, admission charge, use, retail sale, or rental is taxable, along with some services. Some items are specifically not liable.

Use Tax- Goods belonging to out of state is subject to tax when brought into Florida within 6 months of the purchase date. This is called Use Tax and is liable at rate of 6 percent [9].

Ad Valorem (Property) Tax- Ad valorem which is often called property taxes are collected annually by the county tax collector. If you have property in Florida, that property is reviewed yearly by the county property appraiser.

Other Taxes- Florida does not enforce inheritance, personal income, gift taxes or intangible personal property taxes.

Contact Details
3-2000 Florida Department of Revenue
5050 W Tennessee
St Tallahassee
FL 32399-0112


References
  1. Population
  2. History
  3. European exploration
  4. Statehood
  5. Civil war and Reconstruction
  6. Climate
  7. Demography
  8. Education
  9. Taxes

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