History and Facts of Florida Counties
Today’s Florida counties did not always exist in the present form. They went through many different changes in the space of a few short years.
All of the other counties were created from these two original Florida counties.
The State of Florida entered the union as the 27th state on March 3, 1845.
Florida’s counties are subdivisions of the state government. In 1968, counties gained the power to develop their own charters.
Fun Facts about Florida Counties
Counties by Year
- Escambia and St. Johns Counties was the original 2 counties created on July 21, 1821.
- Gilchrist County was the last county created on December 4, 1925.
County Size Facts
- Palm Beach County (2,034 sq mi) is the largest county in Florida.
- Union County (240 sq mi) is the smallest county in Florida.
County Population Facts
The average population of Florida’s counties is 280,616
- Liberty County (8,314) is the least populated county in Florida.
- Miami-Dade County (2,662,874) is the most populated county in Florida.
Florida City Facts
Florida’s 10 largest cities (2016 est.) are:
- Jacksonville (842,583) is in Duval County
- Miami (453,579) is in Miami-Dade County
- Tampa (352,957) is in Hillsborough County
- Orlando (277,173) is in Orange County
- St. Petersburg (260,999) is in Pinellas County
- Hialeah (236,387) is in Miami-Dade County
- Tallahassee (190,894) is in Leon County
- Cape Coral (179,804) is in Lee County
- Fort Lauderdale (172,389) is in Broward County
- Port Saint Lucie (171,016) is in St. Lucie County
Boundary Changes of Florida Counties from 1821 to 1997
This Interactive Map of Florida Counties Counties show the historical boundaries, names, organization, and attachments of every county, extinct county and unsuccessful county proposal from the creation of Florida in 1821 to 1997.
List of Florida Counties
|County||Created||Created From||Named For||County Seat||Notes|
|Alachua County||29 Dec 1824||Duval and Saint Johns counties||From a Seminole-Creek word meaning "jug", apparently in reference to the sinkholes common in the area.||Gainesville|
|Baker County||08 Feb 1861||New River County||for James McNair Baker (1821–1892), a Confederate senator and later a judge in the fourth judicial district.||Macclenny|
|Bay County||24 Apr 1913||Calhoun and Washington counties||St. Andrew's Bay, the central geographic feature of the county||Panama City|
|Bradford County||01 Feb 1859||Columbia County||for Richard Bradford, the first officer from Florida to die in the Civil War; he was killed during the Battle of Santa Rosa Island.||Starke|
|Brevard County||14 Mar 1844||Mosquito County||Theodore Washington Brevard, early settler and later state comptroller.||Titusville|
|Broward County||01 Oct 1915||Dade and Palm Beach counties||Napoleon Bonaparte Broward (1857–1910), 19th Governor of Florida from 1905 to 1909||Fort Lauderdale|
|Calhoun County||26 Jan 1838||Franklin, Jackson and Washington counties||for John C. Calhoun (1782–1850) leading Southern politician from South Carolina.||Blountstown|
|Charlotte County||23 Apr 1921||DeSoto County||Probably a corruption of the name of the Calusa, a group of Native Americans from the area||Punta Gorda|
|Citrus County||02 Jun 1887||Hernando County||The county's citrus trees||Inverness|
|Clay County||31 Dec 1858||Duval County||Henry Clay (1777–1852), Secretary of State from 1825 to 1829 under John Quincy Adams||Green Cove Springs|
|Columbia County||08 May 1923||Lee County||Barron Collier (1873–1939), an advertising entrepreneur who developed much of the land in southern Florida||Naples|
|Collier County||04 Feb 1832||Alachua County||Christopher Columbus (c. 1451–1506), explorer of the Americas||Lake City|
|De Soto County||19 May 1887||Manatee County||Hernando de Soto (c. 1496/1497–1542), a Spanish explorer and conquistador||Arcadia|
|Dixie County||25 Apr 1921||Lafayette County||Dixie, the common nickname for the Southern United States||Cross City|
|Duval County||12 Aug 1822||Saint Johns County||William Pope Duval (1784–1854), the first governor of the Florida Territory||Jacksonville|
|Escambia County||21 Jul 1821||One of the two original counties of Florida||Disputed origin; possibly from the Native American word Shambia, meaning "clear water", or from Spanish word “cambiar”, meaning to barter||Pensacola|
|Flagler County||28 Apr 1917||St. Johns and Volusia counties||Henry Morrison Flagler (1830–1913), founder of the Florida East Coast Railway||Bunnell|
|Franklin County||08 Feb 1832||Gadsden and Washington counties||Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790), one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America||Apalachicola|
|Gadsden County||24 Jun 1823||Jackson County||James Gadsden (1788–1858), American diplomat and namesake of the Gadsden Purchase||Quincy|
|Gilchrist County||01 Jan 1926||Alachua County||Albert W. Gilchrist (1858–1926), the 20th Governor of Florida||Trenton|
|Glades County||23 Apr 1921||DeSoto County||The Florida Everglades||Moore Haven|
|Gulf County||06 Jun 1925||Calhoun County||The Gulf of Mexico||Port St. Joe|
|Hamilton County||26 Dec 1827||Jefferson County||Alexander Hamilton (1757–1804), the first United States Secretary of the Treasury and a Founding Father||Jasper|
|Hardee County||23 Apr 1921||DeSoto County||Cary A. Hardee (1876–1957), governor of Florida at the time of creation of Hardee County||Wauchula|
|Hendry County||11 May 1923||Lee County||Francis A. Hendry (1833–1917), early Floridian pioneer and politician||La Belle|
|Hernando County||24 Feb 1843||Alachua County||Hernando de Soto (c.1496/1497–1542), a Spanish explorer and conquistador||Brooksville|
|Highlands County||23 Apr 1921||DeSoto County||Named for the county's hilly terrain||Sebring|
|Hillsborough County||25 Jan 1834||Alachua County and unorganized territory||Wills Hill, Earl of Hillsborough (1718–1793), former Secretary of State for the Colonies||Tampa|
|Holmes County||08 Jan 1848||Jackson and Walton counties||Holmes Creek, which forms the eastern boundary of the county||Bonifay|
|Indian River County||29 Jun 1925||St. Lucie County||The Indian River Lagoon, which flows through the county||Vero Beach|
|Jackson County||12 Aug 1822||Escambia County||Andrew Jackson (1767–1845), the seventh President of the United States||Marianna|
|Jefferson County||20 Jan 1827||Leon County||Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), the third President of the United States and principal author of the Declaration of Independence||Monticello|
|Lafayette County||23 Dec 1856||Madison County||Gilbert du Motier, marquis de La Fayette (1757–1834), French aristocrat and general in the American Revolutionary War||Mayo|
|Lake County||26 Jul 1887||Orange and Sumter counties||Named for the many lakes in the region||Tavares|
|Lee County||13 May 1887||Monroe County||Robert E. Lee (1807–1870), commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginiain the American Civil War||Fort Myers|
|Leon County||29 Dec 1824||Gadsden County||Juan Ponce de León (1474–1521), Spanish explorer who named Florida||Tallahassee|
|Levy County||10 Mar 1845||Alachua County||David Levy Yulee (1810–1886), one of the state's original United States Senators||Bronson|
|Liberty County||15 Dec 1855||Gadsden County||The patriotic ideal of liberty||Bristol|
|Madison County||26 Dec 1827||Jefferson County||James Madison (1751–1836), fourth President of the United States||Madison|
|Manatee County||09 Jan 1855||Hillsborough County||The manatee, or sea cow, is native to Florida waters.||Bradenton|
|Marion County||14 Mar 1844||Alachua and Mosquito counties||Francis Marion (c. 1732–1795), military officer during the American Revolution||Ocala|
|Martin County||30 May 1925||Saint Lucie and Palm Beach counties||John W. Martin (1884–1958), governor of Florida at time of creation of the county||Stuart|
|Miami-Dade County||18 Jan 1836||Monroe County||City of Miami and Francis L. Dade (c. 1793–1835), Major in the United States Armyduring the Second Seminole War||Miami|
|Monroe County||03 Jul 1823||St. Johns County||James Monroe (1758–1831), fifth President of the United States||Key West|
|Nassau County||29 Dec 1824||Duval County||Duchy of Nassau in Germany||Fernandina Beach|
|Okaloosa County||07 Sep 1915||Santa Rosa and Walton counties||A native word meaning "a pleasant place," "black water", or "beautiful place"||Crestview|
|Okeechobee County||08 May 1917||Osceola, Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties||Lake Okeechobee, which was in turn is from the Hitchiti words for "big water"||Okeechobee|
|Orange County||30 Jan 1845||St. Johns County||The fruit that was the county's main product||Orlando|
|Osceola County||11 Jul 1887||Brevard and Orange counties||Osceola (1804–1838), a leader of the Seminole during the Second Seminole War||Kissimmee|
|Palm Beach County||30 Apr 1909||Miami-Dade County||The county's large amounts of palm trees||West Palm Beach|
|Pasco County||02 Jun 1887||Hernando County||Samuel Pasco (1834–1917), United States Senator at the time of creation of the county||Dade City|
|Pinellas County||14 Nov 1911||Hillsborough County||From the Spanish Punta Piñal, or "Point of Pines"||Clearwater|
|Polk County||08 Feb 1861||Brevard and Hillsborough counties||James K. Polk (1795–1849), the 11th President of the United States||Bartow|
|Putnam County||13 Jan 1849||Alachua and St. Johns counties||Benjamin A. Putnam (1801–1869), soldier during the Second Seminole War and Floridian legislator||Palatka|
|St. Johns County||21 Jul 1821||One of the two original counties||Name derived from the St. Johns River, which in turn derives its name from San Juan del Puerto||Saint Augustine|
|Santa Rosa County||18 Feb 1842||Escambia County||Santa Rosa Island, which is in turn named for Saint Rosa de Viterbo (1235–1252), a saint born in Viterbo, Italy||Milton|
|Sarasota County||15 Jun 1921||Manatee County||Native American word, of uncertain meaning, for the area||Sarasota|
|Seminole County||25 Apr 1913||Orange County||The Seminole Native American tribe||Sanford|
|St. Lucie County||01 Jul 1905||Brevard County||Saint Lucy (283–304), the Christian martyr||Fort Pierce|
|Sumter County||08 Jan 1853||Marion County||Thomas Sumter (1734–1832), general in the American Revolution||Bushnell|
|Suwanee County||21 Dec 1858||Columbia County||The Suwannee River, a 266-mile long river in northern Florida||Live Oak|
|Taylor County||23 Dec 1856||Madison County||Zachary Taylor (1784–1850), 12th President of the United States||Perry|
|Union County||01 Oct 1921||Bradford County||Named for the area's residents united desire to split into a separate county||Lake Butler|
|Volusia County||29 Dec 1854||Orange County||The port of Volusia, whose etymology is uncertain; possibly derived from the Native American word for "Land of the Euchees," the term for the area's native inhabitants||DeLand|
|Wakulla County||11 Mar 1843||Leon County||The Wakulla River, itself named for a Spanish corruption of a Timucuan word used to describe the body of water, but that is of uncertain meaning||Crawfordville|
|Walton County||29 Dec 1824||Escambia and Jackson counties||George Walton, first Secretary of Florida Territory||DeFuniak Springs|
|Washington County||09 Dec 1825||Jackson and Walton counties||George Washington (1732–1799), first President of the United States||Chipley|
|Benton County (Extinct)||06 Mar 1844||renamed from Hernando County||Thomas Benton (1782–1858), U.S. Senator from Missouri who supported the Armed Occupation Act of 1842 that many Floridians wanted in order to evict Native Americans||Brooksville||Original name of county was Hernando County, and the name was changed back to that in 1850|
|Dade County (Extinct)||18 Jan 1836||Monroe County||Francis L. Dade (c. 1793–1835), Major in the United States Army during the Second Seminole War||Miami||Changed to Miami-Dade County in 1997, in order to benefit from the City of Miami's internationally-recognizable name|
|Fayette County (Extinct)||09 Feb 1832||Jackson County||the Marquis de Lafayette, a hero of the American Revolution||Ocheesee||Territory annexed to Jackson County|
|Mosquito County (Extinct)||29 Dec 1824||St. Johns County||Taken from the name the Spanish had given the entire coast, "Los Mosquitos"||John Bunch's house just west of the present location of Tomoka State Park||In 1844, Mosquito County was cut in half with the southern half being named St. Lucia County, and the northern half being renamed Orange County.|
|New River County (Extinct)||01 Feb 1859||The New River||Renamed to Bradford County in 06 Dec 1861|
|St. Lucie County (Extinct)||14 Mar 1844||from the name of a settlement near Jupiter Inlet which was founded on St. Lucia's day in 1566||Saint Lucy (283–304), the Christian martyr||Renamed Brevard County in 1855|
List of Old Former / Extinct Florida Counties
Florida contains some counties that no longer exist because they were discontinued, renamed or merged with another county. These are important for genealogy research purposes.
The below Florida counties no longer exist:
Benton County, Florida
Bloxham County, (Proposed) Florida
Was proposed to be named in honor of William D. Bloxham (1835–1911), 13th and 17th governor of Florida.
It was dependent on local referendum that failed.
Dade County, Florida
On January 7, 1851, Dade County no longer fully organized and attached to Monroe County for administrative and judicial purposes.
In 1872, Dade County was fully organized and detached from Monroe County.
On November 13, 1997, Dade County was renamed to Miami-Dade County.
Leigh Read County, (Proposed) Florida
In 1841, legislation was introduced and passed to rename Mosquito County to “Leigh Read County”. However the governor did not sign the bill within the legal time, so the renaming did not take place.
Was proposed to be named in honor of General and Legislator Leigh Read following his assassination.
Fayette County, Florida
Created on February 9, 1832 from Jackson County by Florida Territory. The with county seat was at Ochesee.
On February 1, 1834, Fayette County merged back into Jackson County.
Hernando County, Florida
Created on February 24, 1843 from Alachua County by Florida Territory.
Miami County, (Proposed) Florida
In 1947, Proposed to create Miami County from Dade County. Creation never occured.
Mosquito County, Florida
Created on December 29, 1824 from St. Johns County by Florida Territory. The County name was taken from the name the Spanish had given the entire coast, “Los Mosquitos”.
On January 30, 1845, Mosquito County was renamed to Orange County.
New River County, Florida
Created in February 1859 from Columbia County by Florida Territory. The County name was taken from the name the Spanish had given the entire coast, “Los Mosquitos”.
On December 6, 1861, New River County was renamed to Bradford County.
Ocean County, (Proposed) Florida
In the early 1990s the four beach cities, Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach, and Mayport considered separating from Duval and forming Ocean County, an idea that had been discussed since consolidation, but after the 1995 the idea was dropped.
St. Lucie County, Florida
Created on March 14, 1844 from Mosquito and Hillsborough counties by Florida Territory. The County name was taken from the name the Spanish had given the entire coast, “Los Mosquitos”.
On January 6, 1855, St. Lucie County was renamed to Brevard County.