Florida became the 27th state in the United States on March 3, 1845, after being a U.S. territory for more than 20 years. For the next 20 years, until after the Civil War, the U.S. military occupied Key West, a prime location for stopping any ships from supplying the Confederate army with food and equipment. Despite the Union's position in Florida, the state joined 10 others in attempting to secede from the union.
Before it became a state, Florida was settled by the Spanish in the 1500s, but they gave up the land to the English after the French and Indian War, which ended in 1763. The United States gained independence in 1776, but Florida didn't join the Union until the 1820s, when the United States claimed it as a territory.
Eventually, Tallahassee became the capital of Florida, and the state adopted the orange blossom as the state flower, the sabal palm as the state tree, the mockingbird as the state bird and the largemouth bass as the state fish. Known as the Sunshine State, Florida produces a large number of oranges, which thrive in warm, sunny climates. The state is over 65,000 square miles in size with a population of nearly 19 million people as of 2015.