Florida was given the well-known nickname of ‘The Sunshine State’ by the 1970 Legislator, however other nicknames include ‘The Alligator State’, ‘The Everglade State’ and ‘The Flower State’.
The 27th state of the USA was originally named ‘La Florida’ by Juan Ponce de Leon, who landed on its northeastern shores in 1513. It is believed that he named it after Spain’s Eastertime celebrations of ‘Pascua Florida’, meaning the feast of the flowers, however others claim that the ‘fragrant and delicious odours’ of springtime and the abundance of flowers that were in bloom when Ponce de Leon landed was the reason for the choice of name.
At one time, Florida was Spanish and stretched from the Savannah River to the Mississippi River. Over time the Spanish relinquished the land and the entire area came under American control. However, it remains the second largest state east of the Mississippi River with a total area of 58,664 square miles (151,939 square kilometres). Almost all of the southeastern peninsula and the entire southern end are covered by the Everglades, the world’s largest sawgrass swamp. Florida has over 1,700 rivers, streams and creeks and 4,500 islands ring the mainland; the best known being the Florida Keys.
Nowadays, Florida is known for its crazy climate and natural beauty. It is also known for its grapefruit and oranges, as approximately 80% of America’s citrus is grown here. However, the state’s leading industry is tourism. Since the late 19th century, residents of the northern states have flocked to Florida to escape harsh winters. As the southernmost state in the continental USA, it attracts millions of visitors every year.