Florida (The Sunshine State) is a US state that is located in the extreme south-eastern area of the country, it includes the peninsula of Florida and – along the Gulf of Mexico – a long and narrow offshoot in the north-west side, in this area there is also the state capital Tallahasee, while the most important city is Miami.
Florida is bathed to the east by the Atlantic Ocean and to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north it borders with Alabama and Georgia.
Most of Florida is flat and karstic area, to the south lie the vast marshes of the Everglades – a natural area protected by the homonymous National Park – and Lake Okeechobee. The southern tip of the peninsula is dotted with islands, the Florida Keys, which extend for hundreds of kilometers towards Cuba.
The highest point of the state is the Britton Hill, only 105 meters high, it lies in the north-west along the border with Alabama. Florida is known for its mild climate, thanks to which it has become a popular tourist destination, the coastline of Florida with its tropical beaches and its bays attracts millions of visitors.
Florida was discovered by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon in 1513, when he was in search of the mythical Fountain of Youth. In the sixteenth century Florida saw several attempts of Spanish and French colonization who founded several colonies often short-lived. Spain was to prevail over attempts by French and Florida remained a Spanish colony until 1763, when, following the peace of Paris, was ceded to Britain. In 1783, with the Treaty of Versailles, Spain returned in possession of Florida. Florida was ceded by Spain to the United States permanently in 1819.
- Area: 170,304 sq. km. (22th largest state of the United States of America)
- Population: 18,350,000 (data 2008) (Whites 78.0%, Blacks 14.6%; Asian 1.7%, Amerindian 0.3%. Hispanics (classified into different racial types) are 16.8%. Data 2000).
- State Capital: Tallahasee.
- Languages: The official language is English (spoken as a first language by 74,5% of the population). Spanish is spoken as a first language by 18,6% of the population. The French Creole by 1,6%. Data 2005).
- Religion: Christian 77% (Roman Catholic (26%), Evangelical (25%), Protestant (23%), Orthodox (1%)), Jehovah’s Witnesses (1%), Jewish (3%), Muslim (1%).
- Time zone: (UTC-5; Summer UTC-4; Panhandle (the strip of northwestern Florida) UTC-6; Summer UTC-5).
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