Florida

HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Florida» \o «Flag of
Florida» Flag of Florida

HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seal_of_Florida» \o «Seal of
Florida» Seal of Florida

HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._state_nicknames»
\o «List of U.S. state nicknames» Nickname(s) : Sunshine State

HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_in_the_United_States» \o
«Languages in the United States» Official language(s) HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_language» \o «English language»
English

HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._state_capitals»
\o «List of U.S. state capitals» Capital HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tallahassee%2C_Florida» \o «Tallahassee,
Florida» Tallahassee

HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states%27_largest_cities» \o
«List of U.S. states’ largest cities» Largest city HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacksonville%2C_Florida» \o «Jacksonville,
Florida» Jacksonville

HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Area» \o «Area» Area  
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_area» \o
«List of U.S. states by area» Ranked 22nd

 — Total 65,794 sq. mi. 

(170,451 km?)

 — Width 162 miles (260 km)

 — Length 497 miles (800 km)

 — % water 17.9

 — Latitude 24°30’N to 31°N

 — Longitude 79°48’W to 87°38’W

HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population» \o «Population»
Population   HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_population» \o
«List of U.S. states by population» Ranked 4th

 — Total ( HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Census%2C_2000» \o «United
States Census, 2000» 2000 ) 15,982,378

 — HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_population_density»
\o «List of U.S. states by population density» Density 301/sq. mi. 

116.3/km? (8th)

HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_elevation» \o «List
of U.S. states by elevation» Elevation  

 — HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_elevation» \l
«Listed_by_highest_point» \o «List of U.S. states by elevation» Highest
point HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Britton_Hill» \o
«Britton Hill» Britton Hill ( HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walton_County» \o «Walton County» Walton
County )

345 feet  (105 m)

 — HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_elevation» \l
«Listed_by_mean_elevation» \o «List of U.S. states by elevation» Mean
98 feet  (30 m)

 — HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_elevation» \l
«Listed_by_lowest_point» \o «List of U.S. states by elevation» Lowest
point 0 feet  (0 m)

HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_date_of_statehood»
\o «List of U.S. states by date of statehood» Admission to Union  
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_3» \o «March 3» March 3 ,
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1845» \o «1845» 1845 (27th)

HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Governor_of_Florida» \o
«Governor of Florida» Governor HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeb_Bush» \o «Jeb Bush» Jeb Bush (R)

HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_Senators_from_Florid
a» \o «List of United States Senators from Florida» U.S. Senators
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Nelson_%28politician%29» \o
«Bill Nelson (politician)» Bill Nelson (D)

HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mel_Martinez» \o «Mel
Martinez» Mel Martinez (R)

HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_time_zone» \o «List
of U.S. states by time zone» Time zones  

 — peninsula HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Standard_Time_Zone» \o «Eastern
Standard Time Zone» Eastern : HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coordinated_Universal_Time» \o
«Coordinated Universal Time» UTC -5/ HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daylight_saving_time» \o «Daylight saving
time» DST -4

 — HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_Panhandle» \o
«Florida Panhandle» panhandle HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Standard_Time_Zone» \o «Central
Standard Time Zone» Central : UTC-6/ HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daylight_saving_time» \o «Daylight saving
time» DST -5

Abbreviations HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._postal_abbreviations» \o «U.S. postal
abbreviations» FL HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_traditional_abbrevi
ation» \o «List of U.S. states by traditional abbreviation»
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_3166-2» \o «ISO 3166-2»
US-FL

Web site HYPERLINK «http://www.myflorida.com/» \o
«http://www.myflorida.com/» www.myflorida.com

Florida is a HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._state» \o
«U.S. state» U.S. state located in the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southeastern_United_States» \o
«Southeastern United States» southeastern HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States» \o «United States» United
States . It was named by HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juan_Ponce_de_Le%C3%B3n» \o «Juan Ponce de
Leon» Juan Ponce de Leon , who landed on the coast on HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_2» \o «April 2» April 2 ,
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1513» \o «1513» 1513 , during
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascua_Florida» \o «Pascua
Florida» Pascua Florida ( HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_language» \o «Spanish language»
Spanish for «Flowery Easter,» referring to the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_season» \o «Easter season» Easter
season ).

Geography

Florida is situated mostly on a large HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peninsula» \o «Peninsula» peninsula
between the HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_of_Mexico» \o
«Gulf of Mexico» Gulf of Mexico , the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_Ocean» \o «Atlantic Ocean»
Atlantic Ocean , and the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straits_of_Florida» \o «Straits of
Florida» Straits of Florida . It consists of a HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_Panhandle» \o «Florida Panhandle»
panhandle , extending along the northern HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_of_Mexico» \o «Gulf of Mexico» Gulf
of Mexico , and a large HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peninsula» \o «Peninsula» peninsula ,
with the HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_Ocean» \o
«Atlantic Ocean» Atlantic Ocean as its eastern border and the Gulf of
Mexico as its western border. It is bordered on the north by the states
of HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia_%28U.S._state%29»
\o «Georgia (U.S. state)» Georgia and HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alabama» \o «Alabama» Alabama , and on
the west, at the end of the panhandle, by Alabama. It is near the
countries of the HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caribbean» \o
«Caribbean» Caribbean , particularly the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bahamas» \o «Bahamas» Bahamas and
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuba» \o «Cuba» Cuba .

At 345 feet (105 m) HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Above_mean_sea_level» \o «Above mean sea
level» above mean sea level , HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Britton_Hill» \o «Britton Hill» Britton
Hill is the highest point in Florida and the lowest highpoint of any
U.S. state. Contrary to popular belief, however, Florida is not entirely
«flat.» Some places, such as HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clearwater%2C_Florida» \o «Clearwater,
Florida» Clearwater , feature vistas that rise 50 to 100 feet (15–30 m)
above the water. Much of the interior of Florida, typically 25 miles
(40 km) or more away from the coastline, features rolling hills with
elevations ranging from 100 to 250 feet (30–76 m) in many locations.
Lake County holds the highest point of peninsular Florida, HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugarloaf_Mountain%2C_Florida» \o
«Sugarloaf Mountain, Florida» Sugarloaf Mountain , at 312 feet (95 m).

Boundaries

The state line begins at the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_Ocean» \o «Atlantic Ocean»
Atlantic Ocean , traveling west, south, and north up the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thalweg» \o «Thalweg» thalweg of the
HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Mary%27s_River_%28Florida/Georgia%29
» \o «Saint Mary’s River (Florida/Georgia)» Saint Mary’s River . At the
origin of that river, it then follows a straight line nearly due west
and slightly north, to the point where the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confluence_%28geography%29» \o «Confluence
(geography)» confluence of the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flint_River_%28Georgia%29» \o «Flint River
(Georgia)» Flint River (from Georgia) and the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chattahoochee_River» \o «Chattahoochee
River» Chattahoochee River (down the Alabama/Georgia line) used to
form Florida’s HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apalachicola_River» \o «Apalachicola
River» Apalachicola River . (Since Woodruff Dam was built,this point
has been under Lake Seminole.) The border with Georgia continues north
through the lake for a short distance up the former thalweg of the
Chattahoochee, then with Alabama runs due west along HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latitude» \o «Latitude» latitude 31°N to
the HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perdido_River» \o «Perdido
River» Perdido River , then south along its thalweg to the Gulf via
Perdido Bay.

Climate

The climate of Florida is tempered somewhat by its proximity to water.
Most of the state has a humid subtropical climate, with the extreme tip
of Florida and the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_Keys» \o «Florida Keys» Florida
Keys bordering on a true tropical climate. Cold fronts can occasionally
bring high winds and cool to cold temperatures to the entire state
during late fall and winter. One such front swept through the peninsula
on HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/November_25» \o «November
25» November 25 , HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1996» \o
«1996» 1996 , bringing cold temperatures and winds up to 95 miles per
hour (150 km/h), knocking out power to thousands and damaging mobile
homes. However, Florida averages 300 days of full sunshine a year. The
seasons in Florida are actually determined more by HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precipitation_%28meteorology%29» \o
«Precipitation (meteorology)» precipitation than by temperature with
warm, relatively dry HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter»
\o «Winter» winters and HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autumn» \o «Autumn» autumns (the dry
season) and hot, wet HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spring_%28season%29» \o «Spring (season)»
springs and HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summer» \o
«Summer» summers (the wet season). The HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_Stream» \o «Gulf Stream» Gulf Stream
has a moderating effect on the climate, and although much of Florida
commonly sees a high summer temperature over 90 degrees HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fahrenheit» \o «Fahrenheit» Fahrenheit
(32°C), the mercury seldom exceeds 100 degrees Fahrenheit (39°C). The
hottest temperature ever recorded in the state was 109°F (43°C), set on
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/June_29» \o «June 29» June 29
, HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1931» \o «1931» 1931 in
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monticello%2C_Florida» \o
«Monticello, Florida» Monticello . The coldest was –2°F (?19°C), on
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/February_13» \o «February 13»
February 13 , HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1899» \o «1899»
1899 , just 25 miles (40 km) away, in HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tallahassee%2C_Florida» \o «Tallahassee,
Florida» Tallahassee . Mean high temperatures for late July are
primarily in the low 90s Fahrenheit (32–35°C). Mean low temperatures for
late January range from the low 40s Fahrenheit (4–7°C) in northern
Florida to the mid-50s (?13°C)in southern Florida.

The Florida Keys, being surrounded by water, generally have a more
tropical climate, with lesser variability in temperatures. At
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Key_West» \o «Key West» Key
West , temperatures rarely exceed 90°F in the summer or fall below 60°F
in the winter.

Florida’s nickname is the «Sunshine State,» but severe weather is a
common occurrence in the state. HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Florida» \o «Central Florida»
Central Florida is known as the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightning» \o «Lightning» lightning
capital of the United States, as it experiences more lightning strikes
than anywhere else in the country. Florida has the highest average
precipitation of any state, in large part because afternoon HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunderstorms» \o «Thunderstorms»
thunderstorms are common in most of the state from late spring until
early autumn. A fair day may be interrupted with a storm, only to return
to regular, gorgeous sunshine. These thunderstorms, caused by collisions
between airflow from the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_of_Mexico» \o «Gulf of Mexico» Gulf
of Mexico and airflow from the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_Ocean» \o «Atlantic Ocean»
Atlantic Ocean , pop up in the early afternoon and can bring heavy
downpours, high winds, and sometimes HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tornado» \o «Tornado» tornadoes . Florida
leads the United States in tornadoes per square mile, but these
tornadoes do not typically reach the intensity of those in the
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midwest» \o «Midwest» Midwest
and HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Plains» \o «Great
Plains» Great Plains . HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hail»
\o «Hail» Hail often accompanies the severest thunderstorms.

HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow» \o «Snow» Snow is a
rare occurrence in Florida. During the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Blizzard_of_1899» \o «Great Blizzard
of 1899» Great Blizzard of 1899 , Florida experienced HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blizzard» \o «Blizzard» blizzard
conditions for possibly the first time since explorers had arrived.
During that time, the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tampa_Bay_Area» \o «Tampa Bay Area» Tampa
Bay Area had «gulf-effect» snow, similar to HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake-effect_snow» \o «Lake-effect snow»
lake-effect snow . The Great Blizzard of 1899 is the only time the
temperature in the state is known to have fallen below 0 degrees
Fahrenheit (?18°C). The most widespread snowfall in Florida history
happened in February 1978, when snow fell over much of the state in
different times of the month, as far south as HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homestead%2C_Florida» \o «Homestead,
Florida» Homestead . Snow HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flurries» \o «Flurries» flurries fell on
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miami_Beach» \o «Miami Beach»
Miami Beach for the only time in recorded history. 1982’s » HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_Sunday» \o «Cold Sunday» Cold Sunday
,» which saw freezing conditions throughout much of the country, ruined
that year’s orange crops. In 1989, a severe hard freeze created lots of
ice and also caused minor flurries in sections of the state and resulted
in rolling blackouts from power failures caused by massive demands on
the power grid for heating. A hard freeze in HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003» \o «2003» 2003 brought
«ocean-effect» snow flurries to the Atlantic coast as far south as
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_Canaveral» \o «Cape
Canaveral» Cape Canaveral . HYPERLINK
«http://www.srh.noaa.gov/mlb/surveys/012403/flurries.html» \o
«http://www.srh.noaa.gov/mlb/surveys/012403/flurries.html» [1] .

Although some storms have formed out of season, HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane» \o «Hurricane» hurricanes
pose a threat during hurricane season, which lasts from HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/June_1» \o «June 1» June 1 to
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/November_30» \o «November 30»
November 30 . Florida saw a slew of destruction in 2004, when it was hit
by a record four hurricanes. Hurricanes HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Charley» \o «Hurricane Charley»
Charley ( HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_13» \o
«August 13» August 13 ), HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Frances» \o «Hurricane Frances»
Frances ( HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_4» \o
«September 4» September 4 – HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_5» \o «September 5» 5 ),
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Ivan» \o «Hurricane
Ivan» Ivan ( HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_16» \o
«September 16» September 16 ), and HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Jeanne» \o «Hurricane Jeanne»
Jeanne ( HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_25» \o
«September 25» September 25 – HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_26» \o «September 26» 26 )
cumulatively cost the state’s economy US$42 billion. In 2005,
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Dennis» \o «Hurricane
Dennis» Hurricane Dennis ( HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/July_10» \o «July 10» July 10 ) became
the fifth storm to strike Florida within eleven months. Later,
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Katrina» \o «Hurricane
Katrina» Hurricane Katrina ( HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_25» \o «August 25» August 25 )
passed through HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Florida»
\o «South Florida» South Florida and HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Rita» \o «Hurricane Rita»
Hurricane Rita ( HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_20»
\o «September 20» September 20 ) swept through the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_Keys» \o «Florida Keys» Florida
Keys . HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Wilma» \o
«Hurricane Wilma» Hurricane Wilma made landfall in Florida in the
early morning of HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/October_24»
\o «October 24» October 24 as a HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saffir-Simpson_Hurricane_Scale» \o
«Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale» Category 3 hurricane, with the
storm’s eye hitting near HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_Romano» \o «Cape Romano» Cape Romano
, just south of HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marco_Island%2C_Florida» \o «Marco Island,
Florida» Marco Island , according to HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Hurricane_Center» \o «National
Hurricane Center» National Hurricane Center .

Florida was the site of the second most costly weather disaster in U.S.
history, HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Andrew» \o
«Hurricane Andrew» Hurricane Andrew , which caused more than US$25
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billion» \o «Billion» billion
in damage when it struck on HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_24» \o «August 24» August 24 ,
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1992» \o «1992» 1992 . In a
long list of other infamous hurricane strikes are the 1926 HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Miami_Hurricane» \o «Great Miami
Hurricane» Great Miami Hurricane , the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Okeechobee_Hurricane_of_1928» \o
«Lake Okeechobee Hurricane of 1928» Lake Okeechobee Hurricane of 1928 ,
the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labor_Day_Hurricane_of_1935» \o «Labor Day
Hurricane of 1935» Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 , HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Donna» \o «Hurricane Donna»
Hurricane Donna in 1960, and HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Opal» \o «Hurricane Opal»
Hurricane Opal in 1995.

Environmental issues

Florida is the fifth-largest producer of greenhouse gases among the 50
U.S. states. This may coincide with the fact that Florida is the fourth
most populous state in the United States. Climatologists and scientists
debate whether global warming is to blame for an increase in the number
of strong hurricanes. The scientists Peter Webster and Judith Curry of
the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia_Institute_of_Technology» \o
«Georgia Institute of Technology» Georgia Institute of Technology
published research in 2005 showing an increase in global hurricane
intensity, with a doubling of the number of Category 4 or 5 hurricanes
since 1970. That increase coincides with a rise of nearly 1 degree
Fahrenheit in ocean surface temperatures. They argue that there is a
connection, while Florida’s state climatologist, James O’Brien, argues
the increase in stronger storms is merely part of a natural cycle.
HYPERLINK
«http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060601/ap_on_sc/hurricanes_global_warming_
1;_ylt=At07EzIS2BIIQNH_ijfkvS1rAlMA;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCU
l» \o
«http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060601/ap_on_sc/hurricanes_global_warming_
1;_ylt=At07EzIS2BIIQNH_ijfkvS1rAlMA;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCU
l» [2]

History

Five of the flags that have been flown over Florida throughout the
centuries.

Archaeological finds indicate that Florida had been inhabited for
thousands of years before any European settlements. Of the many
indigenous people, the largest known were the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ais_%28tribe%29» \o «Ais (tribe)» Ais ,
the HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apalachee» \o «Apalachee»
Apalachee , the HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calusa» \o
«Calusa» Calusa , the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timucua» \o «Timucua» Timucua and the
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tocobago» \o «Tocobago»
Tocobago tribes. HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juan_Ponce_de_Le%C3%B3n» \o «Juan Ponce de
Leon» Juan Ponce de Leon , a Spanish HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conquistador» \o «Conquistador»
conquistador , named Florida in honor of his «discovery» of the land on
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_2» \o «April 2» April 2
, HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1513» \o «1513» 1513 ,
during HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascua_Florida» \o
«Pascua Florida» Pascua Florida , a Spanish term for the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_season» \o «Easter season» Easter
season . From that date forward, the land became known as «La Florida.»
(Juan Ponce de Leon may not have been the first European to reach
Florida. At least one Indian that he encountered in Florida in 1513
could speak HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_language»
\o «Spanish language» Spanish . HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida» \l «_note-0#_note-0» \o «» [1] .
Alternatively, the Spanish-speaking Indian could have been in contact
with areas where Spanish settlements already existed, and Ponce de Leon
was indeed the discoverer).

Over the following century, both Spanish and HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/France» \o «France» French intruders
established settlements in Florida, with varying degrees of success. In
1559, Spanish HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pensacola%2C_Florida» \o «Pensacola,
Florida» Pensacola was established by Don HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trist%C3%A1n_de_Luna_y_Arellano» \o
«Tristan de Luna y Arellano» Tristan de Luna y Arellano as the first
European settlement in the continental United States, but it had become
abandoned by 1561 and would not be reinhabited until the 1690s. French
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huguenots» \o «Huguenots»
Huguenots founded HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Caroline» \o «Fort Caroline» Fort
Caroline in modern-day HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacksonville%2C_Florida» \o «Jacksonville,
Florida» Jacksonville in 1564, but this fort was conquered by forces
from the new Spanish colony of HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Augustine%2C_Florida» \o «St.
Augustine, Florida» St. Augustine the following year. After Huguenot
leader HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Ribault» \o «Jean
Ribault» Jean Ribault had learned of the new Spanish threat, he
launched an expedition to sack the Spanish settlement; en route,
however, severe storms at sea waylaid the expedition, which consisted of
most of the colony’s men, allowing St. Augustine founder HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedro_Men%C3%A9ndez_de_Avil%C3%A9s» \o
«Pedro Menendez de Aviles» Pedro Menendez de Aviles time to march his
men over land and conquer Fort Caroline. Most of the Huguenots were
slaughtered, and Menendez de Aviles marched south and captured the
survivors of the wrecked French fleet, ordering all but a few
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholic_Church» \o «Roman
Catholic Church» Catholics executed beside a river subsequently called
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matanzas_River» \o «Matanzas
River» Matanzas ( HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_language» \o «Spanish language»
Spanish for ‘killings’). St. Augustine came to serve as the capitals of
the British and Spanish colonies of HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Florida» \o «East Florida» East and
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Florida» \o «West
Florida» West Florida, respectively. The Spanish never had a firm hold
on Florida, and maintained tenuous control over the region by converting
the local tribes, briefly with HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society_of_Jesus» \o «Society of Jesus»
Jesuits and later with HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franciscan» \o «Franciscan» Franciscan
friars. The local leaders ( HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Caciques&action=edit» \o
«Caciques» caciques ) demonstrated their loyalty to the Spanish by
converting to Roman Catholicism and welcoming the Franciscan priests
into their villages.

The area of Spanish Florida diminished with the establishment of
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Britain» \o «Great
Britain» British colonies to the north and HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/France» \o «France» French colonies to
the west. The English weakened Spanish power in the area by supplying
their HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creek_people» \o «Creek
people» Creek Indian allies with firearms and urging them to raid the
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timucua» \o «Timucua» Timucuan
and HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apalachee» \o «Apalachee»
Apalachee client-tribes of the Spanish. The English attacked St.
Augustine, burning the city and its cathedral to the ground several
times, while the citizens hid behind the walls of the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castillo_de_San_Marcos» \o «Castillo de
San Marcos» Castillo de San Marcos . The Spanish, meanwhile, encouraged
slaves to flee the British-held HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carolinas» \o «Carolinas» Carolinas and
come to Florida, where they were converted to Roman Catholicism and
given freedom. They settled in a buffer community north of St.
Augustine, called Gracie Real de Santa Teresa de Mose, the first
completely black settlement in what would become the United States.
Great Britain gained control of Florida diplomatically in 1763 through
the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Paris_%281783%29» \o «Treaty of
Paris (1783)» Peace of Paris (the Castillo de San Marcos surrendered
for the first time, having never been taken militarily). England tried
to develop Florida through the importation of immigrants for labor,
including some from HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minorca»
\o «Minorca» Minorca and HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greece» \o «Greece» Greece , but this
project ultimately failed. Spain regained Florida after England’s defeat
by the American colonies and the Treaty of Paris, in 1783. Finally, in
1819, by terms of the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adams-On%C3%ADs_Treaty» \o «Adams-Onis
Treaty» Adams-Onis Treaty , Spain ceded Florida to the United States in
exchange for the American renounciation of any claims on HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas» \o «Texas» Texas . On HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_3» \o «March 3» March 3 ,
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1845» \o «1845» 1845 , Florida
became the 27th state of the United States of America. On HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/January_10» \o «January 10» January 10 ,
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1861» \o «1861» 1861 , before
the formal outbreak of the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Civil_War» \o «American Civil
War» Civil War , Florida seceded from the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_%28American_Civil_War%29» \o «Union
(American Civil War)» Union ; ten days later, the state became a
founding member of the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confederate_States_of_America» \o
«Confederate States of America» Confederate States of America . The war
ended in 1865. On HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/June_25» \o
«June 25» June 25 , HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1868» \o
«1868» 1868 , Florida’s HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Congress» \o «United States
Congress» congressional representation was restored.

Until the mid-twentieth century, Florida was the least populous Southern
state; however, the local climate, tempered by the growing availability
of HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_conditioning» \o «Air
conditioning» air conditioning , made the state a haven, and migration
from the HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rust_Belt» \o «Rust
Belt» Rust Belt and the Northeast sharply increased the population.
Today, Florida is the most populous state in the South besides
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas» \o «Texas» Texas , and
the fourth most populous in the United States.

Languages

As of 2000, 76.9 percent of Florida residents age 5 and older speak
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_language» \o «English
language» English at home, and 16.5 percent speak HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_language» \o «Spanish language»
Spanish . HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_language» \o
«French language» French is the third most spoken language at 2.2
percent, followed by HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_language» \o «German language»
German at 0.6 percent and HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_language» \o «Italian language»
Italian at 0.4 percent.

Article II, Section 9, of the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_Constitution» \o «Florida
Constitution» Florida Constitution provides that «English is the
official language of the State of Florida.» This provision was adopted
in 1988 by a vote following an Initiative Petition.

The basic structure, duties, function, and operations of the government
of the State of Florida are defined and established by the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_Constitution» \o «Florida
Constitution» Florida Constitution , which establishes the basic law of
the state and guarantees various rights and freedoms of the people. The
state government consists of three separate branches: judicial,
executive, and legislative. The HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legislature» \o «Legislature» legislature
enacts bills, which, if signed by the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Governor» \o «Governor» governor , become
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_Statutes» \o «Florida
Statutes» Florida Statutes .

The HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_Legislature» \o
«Florida Legislature» legislature has a Senate of 40 members and a
House of 120 members. The current HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Governor_of_Florida» \o «Governor of
Florida» governor is HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Republican_Party» \o «United
States Republican Party» Republican HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeb_Bush» \o «Jeb Bush» Jeb Bush ,
brother of U.S. President HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_W._Bush» \o «George W. Bush»
George W. Bush and son of former President HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_H._W._Bush» \o «George H. W. Bush»
George H. W. Bush .

Florida was traditionally a HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Democratic_Party» \o «United
States Democratic Party» Democratic state; at one time, HYPERLINK
«http://election.dos.state.fl.us/voterreg/history.asp» \o
«http://election.dos.state.fl.us/voterreg/history.asp» 68.5 percent of
all Floridians were registered Democrats. In the last decades of the
twentieth century, the realignment of the » HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid_South» \o «Solid South» Solid South
» led many conservative Democrats of Florida to vote with the Republican
Party. This tendency, combined with explosive population growth, which
has brought many HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Republican_Party» \o «United
States Republican Party» Republicans into the state, has given Florida
a Republican edge in practice, though registered Democrats still
outnumber registered Republicans. As a result, Republicans control the
governorship and most other statewide elective offices: both houses of
the state legislature, 18 of the state’s 25 seats in the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_House_of_Representatives» \o
«United States House of Representatives» House of Representatives , and
one of the state’s two HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Senate» \o «United States
Senate» Senate seats. The HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._presidential_election%2C_2000%2C_in_F
lorida» \o «U.S. presidential election, 2000, in Florida» 2000
Presidential election in Florida was extremely close. Because of the
state’s population and number of electoral votes, political analysts
consider it to be a key HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swing_state» \o «Swing state» swing state
in HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/President_of_the_United_States» \o
«President of the United States» presidential elections. The
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tampa%2C_Florida» \o «Tampa,
Florida» Tampa area, once a major center of Democratic HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade_union» \o «Trade union» union
support, is now almost evenly split between registered Republicans and
Democrats, making it part of the important HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_4» \o «Interstate 4» I-4
Corridor swing region.

Economy

The gross state product of Florida in 2003 was $599 billion HYPERLINK
«http://www.bea.gov/bea/newsrel/gspnewsrelease.htm» \o
«http://www.bea.gov/bea/newsrel/gspnewsrelease.htm» [5] . Personal
income was $30,098 per capita, ranking 26th in the nation.

Florida’s economy relies heavily on tourism. About 60 million visitors
visit the state every year. Warm weather and hundreds of miles of beach
attract vacationers from around the world. The HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walt_Disney_World_Resort» \o «Walt Disney
World Resort» Walt Disney World Resort —with four theme parks and more
than twenty hotels, plus countless water parks, shopping centers, and
other facilities—located in HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Buena_Vista%2C_Florida» \o «Lake
Buena Vista, Florida» Lake Buena Vista , drives the economy of Central
Florida, along with more recent entries into the theme-park arena, such
as the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Orlando_Resort» \o «Universal
Orlando Resort» Universal Orlando Resort . Sales- and tourist-tax
revenue allows the state to remain one of the few not to levy a personal
income tax. Other major industries include HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citrus» \o «Citrus» citrus HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fruit» \o «Fruit» fruit and juice
production, banking, and HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phosphate» \o «Phosphate» phosphate
mining within the HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bone_Valley»
\o «Bone Valley» Bone Valley region. With the arrival of the space
program at HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kennedy_Space_Center» \o «Kennedy Space
Center» Kennedy Space Center in the 1960s, Florida has attracted a
large number of aerospace and military industries. The state did not
have any state minimum wage laws until HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/November_2» \o «November 2» November 2 ,
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004» \o «2004» 2004 , when
voters passed a constitutional amendment establishing one and mandating
that it be adjusted for inflation every six months.

Historically, Florida’s economy was based upon cattle farming and
agriculture (especially HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugarcane» \o «Sugarcane» sugarcane ,
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citrus» \o «Citrus» citrus ,
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomato» \o «Tomato» tomatoes ,
and HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strawberry» \o
«Strawberry» strawberries ). In the early 1900, land speculators
discovered Florida, and Plant and Henry Flagler developed railway
systems, which led people to move in, drawn by the weather and local
economies. From then on, tourism boomed, fueling a cycle of development
and tourism that overwhelmed a great deal of farmland.

In 2004 and 2005, key industries along the west coast—commercial fishing
and water-based tourist activities (sports fishing and diving)—were
threatened by outbreaks of red tide, a discoloration of seawater caused
by an efflorescence of toxin-producing dinoflagellates.

Florida is one of the nine states that do not impose a personal
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_tax» \o «Income tax»
income tax ( HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_without_a_personal_inc
ome_tax» \o «List of U.S. states without a personal income tax» list of
others ). The state imposes a tax on «intangible personal property»
(stocks, bonds, mutual funds, money market funds, etc.), but in April,
2006, the state legislature was considering a repeal of the tax.
HYPERLINK
«http://www.tallahassee.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060417/CAPITOLN
EWS/604170313/1010/NEWS01» \o
«http://www.tallahassee.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060417/CAPITOLN
EWS/604170313/1010/NEWS01» [6] The state HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sales_tax» \o «Sales tax» sales tax rate
is 6% HYPERLINK «http://www.myflorida.com/dor/taxes/sales_tax.html» \o
«http://www.myflorida.com/dor/taxes/sales_tax.html» [7] . Local
governments may levy an additional local option sales tax of up to 1.5%.
A locale’s HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Use-tax&action=edit» \o
«Use-tax» use-tax rate is the same as its sales-tax rate, including
local options, if any. Use taxes are payable for purchases made out of
state and brought into Florida within six months of the purchase date.
Other taxes are mostly levied on businesses. They include the following
taxes: corporate income, communication services, intangibles,
unemployment, solid waste, documentary stamps, insurance premium,
pollutants, and various fuel taxes. For more information, visit the
Florida Department of Revenue website at HYPERLINK
«http://www.myflorida.com/dor» \o «http://www.myflorida.com/dor» [8] .

Florida’s public-school revenue per student and spending per $1000 of
personal income usually rank in the bottom 25 percent of U.S. states.
Average teacher salaries rank near the middle of U.S. states.

Florida public schools have consistently ranked in the bottom 25 percent
of many national surveys and average test-score rankings. Many education
surveys are not scientific, but do measure prestige. HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Governor_of_Florida» \o «Governor of
Florida» Governor HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeb_Bush»
\o «Jeb Bush» Jeb Bush has been criticized by many Florida educators
for a program that penalizes underperforming schools (as indicated by
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standardized_test» \o
«Standardized test» standardized tests , most prominently the
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FCAT» \o «FCAT» FCAT ) with
fewer funding dollars, though supporters claim the program’s tough
measures have resulted in vast improvements to the education system.
Major testing organizations frequently discount the use of state’s
average test-score rankings, or any average of scaled scores, as a valid
metric (for details on scaled test scores, see HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychometrics» \o «Psychometrics»
psychometrics ).

Despite the inadequacy of the primary and secondary schools, Florida is
home to many well-respected institutions, such as HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Florida» \o «University of
Florida» University of Florida , the HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Miami» \o «University of
Miami» University of Miami , and HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_College_of_Florida» \o «New College of
Florida» New College of Florida .

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, and created boards of trustees to govern each university. As is
typical of executive-appointed government boards, the appointees so far
have overwhelmingly belonged to the governor’s party. This effect has
not been without controversy. HYPERLINK
«http://www.sptimes.com/News/050801/State/Bush_s_trustees_mostl.shtml»
\o
«http://www.sptimes.com/News/050801/State/Bush_s_trustees_mostl.shtml»
[9] In 2002, former governor and then HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Senate» \o «United States
Senate» U.S. Senator HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Graham» \o «Bob Graham» Bob Graham (
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Democratic_Party»
\o «United States Democratic Party» Dem. ) led a HYPERLINK
«http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_Constitution» \o «Florida
Constitution» consitutional -amendment ballot referendum designed to
restore the board-of-regents system. Voters responded by creating the
HYPERLINK «http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_Board_of_Governors» \o
«Florida Board of Governors» Florida Board of Governors ; however, each
university still maintains a board of trustees, which works under the
new board.

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