FLORIDA

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FLORIDA ; a country belonging to the United States, bounded N. by Alabama and Georgia, E. by the Atlantic, S. and W. by the gulf of Mexico. The northern part of the western boundary is formed by the Perdido, which separates it from Alabama. Florida formerly extended as far west as the Mississippi, the northern boundary being formed by St. Mary's river from the ocean to its source, thence by a right line to the point where Flint river unites with the Appalachicola, thence up the Appalachicola to the parallel of lat. 31° N., thence due west on that parallel to the Mississippi. The part lying between the Mississippi and Pearl is now included in the state of Louisiana; and the part between Pearl river and the Perdido, in the states of Mississippi and alabama. The part cast of the Perdido is under the territorial government of Florida. Lon. 80° 25> to 87° 20' W.; lat. 25° to 31° N.; length from N. to S., about 400 miles; average breadth, about 140; square miles, about 50,000. The principal towns are Tallahassee, the seat of government, Pensacola, St. Augustine, New Smyrna, and St, Marks. The most'considerable rivers are St. John's, Appalachicola, Indian rivei, Suwaney and Conecuh. The principal island is Amelia island. The genera., aspect on the sea shore is flat, sandy and barren; further inland, it is marshy, abounding in natural meadows; a range of low hills extends through the peninsula. The river St. John's, which has a course swamp Ouaquephenogaw or Okefonoco, nearly 300 miles in circuit, lies on the north side, about half in Florida and half in Georgia. To the south of this are the Alachua savannas, a level and fertile tract, bare of trees and shrubs. The lands of Florida, in their general character, are light and sandy; and they are represented as not capable of sustaining a continual succession of exhausting crops. Considerable tracts, in different parts, are fertile ; but far the greater part is sterile or unproductive. The lands have been divided into seven varieties:1. Pine haiTens, which constitute a great part of the country. They produce vast quantities of yellow and pitch pine; also shrubs in great variety, and a wiry grass, which yields sustenance to numerous herds of cattle. In wet seasons, orchards of peach and mulberry trees flourish remarkably well on these lands. 2. Hum?nock land. This variety, which constitutes the main body of good land, is so called because it rises in mounts or small tufts among the pines. Most of the uplands remote from the sea are of this kind, which is adapted to sugarcane, cotton, indigo, potatoes and pulse. 3. Prairies. These are of two kinds, one found in the pine barrens, being covered with sand, and sterile ; the other on high ground, covered with wild grass. 4. Swamps. These are of two kindsthe river and inland swamps: the latter are the most valuable, producing large crops of rice, and, in some instances, the best cotton, corn and indigo in the country. 5. Marshes. A part of these are occasionally covered with salt water, and a part with fresh. The fresh water marshes produce an abundance of wild oats. 6. A species of marsh, called galen, consisting of watercourses covered with spongy earth, and trembling like jelly for a considerable distance about the spot impressed. 7. Elevated grounds, covered with large trees of different species. Florida abounds in vegetable productions in great variety, of most luxuriant growth. It is remarkable for the majestic appearance of its towering forest trees, and the brilliant colors of its flowering shrubs. The pines, palms, cedars and chestnuts grow to an extraordinary size and height. The laurels, especially the magnolias, are uncommonly striking objects, rising, with erect trunks, to the height of 100 feet, forming towards the head a perfect cone, and having their darkgreen foliage silvered over with large milkwhite flowers, frequently eight or nine inches in diameter. forming a trunk from 10 to !^0 feet high, and from 12 to 18 feet in circumference, spreads out'its branches, in some instances, 50 paces on every side. The cypress, generally growing in watery places, has large roots like buttresses, rising around its lower extremity; then, rearing a stem of 80 or 90 feet, it throws out a flat, horizontal top, like an umbrella, so that, often growing in forests all of an equal height, they present the appearance of a green canopy supported on columns in the air. Many rich fruits, particularly limes, prunes, peaches, grapes and figs, grow wild in the forests. St. John's river, and some of the lakes, are bordered with orange groves; and olives are cultivated with success. Some of the most important productions to which the country is well adapted are sugar, coffee, cotton, rice, indigo, tobacco, vines, olives, oranges, and various other tropical fruits. The population of the country is very small (for its amount in 1830, see United States). The waters contain various kinds of excellent fish, and they also abound in alligators and other lizards. The thermometer in summer usually stands between 84° and 88° of Fahrenheit in the shade, and, in July and August frequently rises to 94°. The sun is scorching hot at noon. In winter, it very rarely freezes, nor is the cold ever so severe as to injure the China orange. From the end of September to the end of June, "there is not," says Volney, "perhaps, a finer climate in the world." The name of Florida, from Pasqua Florida, or Palm Sunday, was given to this region by Juan Ponce de Leon, the Spanish discoverer, in 1512. For a long time, the name was general, in Spanish works, for the Atlantic coast of North America. The region now called Carolina was formerly included under Florida, and received the ..ame Carolina from the French, who attempted to colonize it during the religious troubles in the reign of Charles IX. This colony endured incredible hardships, and was extirpated by the Spaniards, who sent out an expedition for this purpose in 1564. With many vicissitudes of fortune, Florida remained in the hands of the Spaniards til] 1763, when it was ceded to the British government. In 1781, the Spanish governor of Florida, don Galvez, conquered West Florida; and, by the treaty of Paris, 1783, the whole of both Florid as was ceded back by Great Britain to Spain. In 1819, negotiations were commenced between the United States and Spain for tho cession of Florida to the former, and a treaty to that effect was entered into. This treaty was ratified by Spain, October, 1820; by the United States, February, 1821; and, in July of the latter year, Florida was finally taken possession of by general Jackson, by order of the government.