Florida (// (listen)), officially the State of Florida, is a state in the southeast part of the United States. It is the 22nd largest US state by total area with 65,757.70 sq mi (170,312 km2) and the third most-populous with a 2015 population of more than 21 million. It is a peninsula, which means that water surrounds the state on three of four possible sides. To the west is the Gulf of Mexico, to the south is the Florida Straits, and to the east is the Atlantic Ocean. The highest elevation in Florida is Britton Hill.
|State of Florida|
The Sunshine State
|Anthem: "Old Folks at Home" and "Florida"|
Map of the United States with Florida highlighted
|Before statehood||Florida Territory|
|Admitted to the Union||March 3, 1845 (27th)|
|• Governor||Ron DeSantis (R)|
|• Lieutenant Governor||Jeanette Núñez (R)|
|• Upper house||Senate|
|• Lower house||House of Representatives|
|U.S. senators||Marco Rubio (R)|
Rick Scott (R)
|U.S. House delegation||14 Republicans |
13 Democrats (list)
|• Total||65,757.70 sq mi (170,312 km2)|
|• Length||447 mi (721 km)|
|• Width||361 mi (582 km)|
|Elevation||100 ft (30 m)|
|Highest elevation||345 ft (105 m)|
|0 ft (0 m)|
|• Density||384.3/sq mi (121.0/km2)|
|• Density rank||8th|
|• Median household income||$53,267|
|• Income rank||40th|
|• Official language||English|
|• Spoken language||Predominantly English and Spanish|
|Peninsula and "Big Bend" region||UTC-05:00 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-04:00 (EDT)|
|Panhandle west of the Apalachicola River||UTC-06:00 (Central)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-05:00 (CDT)|
|ISO 3166 code||US-FL|
|Latitude||24° 27' N to 31° 00' N|
|Longitude||80° 02' W to 87° 38' W|
Florida had many residents from many tribes and nations living in almost all parts of it for thousands of years. These include the Timucua, the Tequesta, the Calusa, the Seminole, the Miccosukee, and many more. Florida was first discovered by a European in 1513 by the Spanish Ponce De Leon, who called this peninsula "Tierra de la Pascua Florida" (Land of the Easter flowered) because it was discovered on Easter: in the next centuries only the last word remained.
Northern Florida contains hills because it is at the very end of the Appalachian Mountains. The highest hill in Florida is Britton Hill, in northern Walton County near the town of Lakewood, Florida. It is 345 feet (105 m) above sea level. It is the shortest of the highest points in all other states.
Florida has the longest coastline in the continental United States.The Gulf Stream ocean current goes through the Atlantic Ocean near the east coast of Florida, so the water is warmer than the Pacific Ocean. The Gulf of Mexico is on the west coast of Florida.
In the center of southern Florida is a lake called Lake Okeechobee. It is the seventh largest freshwater lake in the United States  and the second largest freshwater lake entirely within the lower 48 states. Okeechobee is 730 square miles (1,890 km²), about half the size of the state of Rhode Island, and is very shallow for a lake of its size, with an average depth of only 9 feet (3 m).
A lot of south Florida used to be covered by a swamp called the Everglades. When Florida was first being settled, farmers found out the soil there was fertile, so they drained some of the wetlands in 1882 for farming. In 1947, the state constructed levees and canals to make more room for farming and houses. The Everglades is now about half the size it used to be. Most of what is left is now the Everglades National Park. Lots of animals live there, including alligators and Florida panthers. Recently, Florida has been trying to restore the Everglades.
Florida is nicknamed the Sunshine State. During the summer, temperatures may rise up to as high as 109 degrees Fahrenheit (or 40.5 degrees Celsius). Its annual average temperature is much warmer than many of the other states, but during winter, temperatures occasionally fall below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. In Florida, a dozen palm tree species are native to the state. Florida has both a rainy season and dry season. Southern Florida does not have four separate seasons.
Florida is vulnerable to hurricanes due to its proximity to the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane season is from June 1 to November 30, but sometimes a hurricane will occur outside of this period. Hurricane Andrew was a destructive hurricane that hit Florida on August 23, 1992. Florida's most active recorded hurricane seasons were in 2004 and 2005, when it was hit by hurricanes Charley (August 13), Frances (September 4–5), Ivan (September 16), Jeanne (September 25), Katrina (August 25), and Wilma (October 24).
Florida has many types of wildlife including:
- Marine Mammals: Bottlenose Dolphin, Short-finned Pilot Whale, North Atlantic Right Whale, West Indian Manatee
- Reptiles: American Alligator and Crocodile, Eastern Diamondback and Pygmy Rattlesnakes, Gopher Tortoise, Green and Leatherback Sea Turtles, Eastern indigo snake
- Mammals: Florida panther, Northern River Otter, Mink, Eastern Cottontail Rabbit, Marsh Rabbit, Raccoon, Striped Skunk, Squirrel, White-tailed deer, Key Deer, Bobcats, Gray Fox, Coyote, Wild Boar, Florida Black Bear, Nine-banded Armadillos
- Birds: Bald Eagle, Northern Caracara, Snail Kite, Osprey, White and Brown Pelicans, Sea Gulls, Whooping and Sandhill Cranes, Roseate Spoonbill, Florida Scrub Jay (state endemic), and others. One subspecies of Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo, namely subspecies osceola, is found only in the state of Florida. Many species of eastern North American birds go to Florida in the winter.
- Invertebrates: carpenter ants, termites, and American cockroach.
In the 1930s, the Red imported fire ants were accidentally brought from South America to North America. Since then, they have spread to most of the Southern United States, including Florida. They are more aggressive than most native ant species and have a painful sting.
The capital of Florida is Tallahassee, and Jacksonville is the state's largest city. Tallahassee is in the part of Florida called the panhandle, or the narrow part in the northwest. There are other big cities in Florida, like Tampa, Orlando and Miami.
Orlando is home to many amusement and theme parks, like Walt Disney World Resort, Sea World, and Universal Studios. Millions of tourists visit Orlando each year. There is also Busch Gardens in Tampa, which is another tourist attraction.
Florida has eleven state universities. They are Florida A&M University, Florida Atlantic University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida International University, Florida State University, New College of Florida, University of Central Florida, University of Florida, University of North Florida, University of South Florida, and University of West Florida. The University of Central Florida has the most students. There are 28 private universities in Florida.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Florida.|
- "State Motto". Florida Department of State. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
- "United States Summary: 2010. Population and Housing Unit Counts. 2010 Census of Population and Housing" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. September 2012. p. 41. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
- "Elevations and Distances in the United States". United States Geological Survey. 2001. Archived from the original on October 15, 2011. Retrieved October 21, 2011.
- Elevation adjusted to North American Vertical Datum of 1988.
- "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. January 9, 2020. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
- "Median Annual Household Income". The US Census Bureau. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
- "Florida". Modern Language Association. Retrieved June 29, 2014.
- "SB 230—State Symbols/Fla. Cracker Horse/Loggerhead Turtle [RPCC]". Florida House of Representatives. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
- Ponce De Leon life
- Main, Martin B.; Allen, Ginger M. (July 2007). "The Florida Environment: An Overview". University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Archived from the original on 2010-11-20. Retrieved 2008-01-23.
- Muller, Peter O. "Lake Okeechobee." World Book Online Reference Center. 2008. 12 Jan. 2008 <http://www.worldbookonline.com/wb/Article?id=ar309640>
- "SOFIA Virtual Tour - Lake Okeechobee". archive.usgs.gov. Archived from the original on 2019-12-03. Retrieved 2019-01-20.
- U.S. Geological Survey (1999). "Florida Everglades". Circular 1182. U.S. Geological Survey. Archived from the original on 2008-06-26. Retrieved 2008-03-14.
- Stewart, Melissa (2003). Life in a Wetland. Twenty-First Century Books. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-8225-4687-0.
- C. Michael Hogan. 2008. Wild turkey: Meleagris gallopavo, GlobalTwitcher.com, ed. N. Stromberg
- "Not all alien invaders are from outer space". United States Department of Agriculture. Archived from the original on 2010-11-20. Retrieved 2007-12-03.
- "State creates season for hunting pythons". Melbourne, Florida: Florida Today. 23 February 2010. pp. 6B. Archived from the original on 24 February 2010.