Florida has the fourth largest population of any U.S. state – as of 2011, Florida was home to about 19 million people. Jacksonville is the most populous city, followed by Miami, Tampa and St. Petersburg. As of 2014, Florida’s population is growing, as an estimated 1,000 people move to the state each day.
Europeans discovered Florida in 1513, when Juan Ponce de Leon claimed it on behalf of Spain. Florida became the 27th state in March of 1845. Covering approximately 58,000 square miles, Florida is the 22nd largest state in the country. The state only stretches 447 miles from north to south, but the panhandle is nearly 361 miles long. To travel from Pensacola, located in the Florida panhandle, to Key West, the southernmost part of the state, requires a journey of 792 miles by car. Florida is divided into 67 different counties, and the state capital is Tallahassee.
Florida has 663 miles of beach, which help make it the number one destination in the world; in 2011, 87.3 million people traveled to the sunshine state. Tourism is an important part of Florida’s economy, and it generates approximately $67 billion annually. Other important economic industries in Florida include agriculture, international trade and the space industry.