In a dozen years, Florida will celebrate the bicentennial of its capital city,
Spain ceded what Ralph Waldo Emerson later called “a grotesque place of land speculators and desperadoes” to the U.S. in 1819, and the treaty was ratified in 1821. Perhaps Emerson was miffed because he didn't invest in a few hundred acres around
Territorial government officials alternately met in the two population centers of 1824's Spanish-dominated wilderness. St. Augustine had a whopping 5,000 denizens, compared to Pensacola's 712. Territorial governor William Pope Duval appointed commissioners to establish a more central meeting place. They chose a former Indian settlement near a waterfall -- now part of Cascades Park in
Florida became a state on March 3, 1845, and its population centers have shifted. Metropolitan Miami is the fifth-largest U.S. urban area with 5.5 million inhabitants. The Tampa Bay Area boasts 4.3 million urbanites, and Jacksonville claims 1.4 million. Pensacola and St. Augustine combined now have about 70,000 residents, though their extended areas exceed half a million. Orlando/Central Florida claims 3.5 million of Florida's 19 million residents.
X marks the spot on a map of highways, specifically