10 interesting Florida quick facts

JoAnn Ryan

Florida is a fascinating state. I've called the state home for more than ten years now, and even though there's a ton of quirkiness going on all the time, the vast majority of this quirkiness only serves to make life just that much more interesting.

Here are ten Florida quick facts, just to prove how fascinating and quirky the place really is! Perhaps I'm a bit biased, and I'm ok with that.

  1. Starting with the name itself: Florida means "land of flowers" in Spanish. It was named by Ponce de Leon when he first landed here in 1513.
  2. Floridanos?: The Spanish, who were the first Europeans to settle in the area, did not call themselves Floridians. They were called Floridanos.
  3. Runaway slaves: Before the British and the Americans took things over, Florida often had a reputation for being a safe haven for runaway slaves. Source: History of slavery in Florida.
  4. Fleeing Cubans: Florida also become a safe haven for people fleeing Cuba and Fidel Castro in the mid-1900s. Most were received at the Freedom Tower, which earned the nickname "Ellis Island of the South." Read more about the Freedom Tower on the website for Miami Dade College.
  5. So many islands: Florida is home to some 4,510 islands. Wowie! Alaska has more though. Did you know you can buy a private island in Florida and build a house on it? Might want to have a backup on the mainland though, just in case your island home gets ripped apart and thrown into the sea by a hurricane!

6. Frogs: Did you know Florida has a state amphibian? It's so true! It's called the barking tree frog. Read more about this frog on the University of Florida's wildlife page.

7. Crackers: Florida has several state mammals as well, including the Florida Cracker Horse. There are also Florida Cracker cattle and Florida Cracker cowboys. All were named for early British and American settlers, who were called... Florida Crackers (yes, really!)

8. Money: Currently, Florida is home to 73 billionaires. In stark contrast, the current poverty rate is 15.5%. Sources: Who are the richest billionaires in Florida? and Poverty in Florida.

9. Flat as a... wow, that looks yummy!: Florida is the flattest state in the U.S. It's highest point is located in the panhandle and is only 345 feet above sea level.

10. And while on the subject of yummy: Florida has a state pie. It's of course the luscious Key lime pie, so named for the lime trees hailing from the Florida Keys.

Bonus fact: In 1965, legislation was presented to impose a $100 fine for anyone claiming that a Key lime pie was made with anything other than Key limes. OMG that's knock down funny! Luckily, the bill did not pass. Source: Key Lime Pie.

Did you enjoy this list of interesting Florida quick facts?

Additional source: Florida-Wikipedia

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Traveler, photographer, foodie and lover of life!

Orlando, FL
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