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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.

Florida became a Territory on March 30, 1821 with two original counties, Escambia County to the west and St. Johns County to the east.

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 is currently divided into 67 counties. States bordering Florida are Georgia and Alabama.

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

County Size Facts

County Population Facts

The average population of Florida’s counties is 280,616

Florida City Facts

Florida’s 10  largest cities (2016 est.) are:

  1. Jacksonville (842,583) is in Duval County
  2. Miami (453,579) is in Miami-Dade County
  3. Tampa (352,957) is in Hillsborough County
  4. Orlando (277,173) is in Orange County
  5. St. Petersburg (260,999) is in Pinellas County
  6. Hialeah (236,387) is in Miami-Dade County
  7. Tallahassee (190,894) is in Leon County
  8. Cape Coral (179,804) is in Lee County
  9. Fort Lauderdale (172,389) is in Broward County
  10. 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

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

On March 6, 1844 when Hernando County was renamed to Benton County. On December 24, 1850, Benton County was renamed to Hernando County.

Bloxham County, (Proposed) Florida

Legislature authorized creation on June 1, 1915 from Levy and Marion counties. County seat was to be located at Williston.

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

Created on February 4, 1836 from Monroe County by Florida Territory. Named for Francis L. Dade (c. 1793–1835), Major in the United States Army during the Second Seminole War

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.

On March 6, 1844, Hernando County was renamed to Benton County. On December 24, 1850, Benton County was renamed to Hernando County.

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 1991, the area (currently in Duval County) has been in the process of breaking off from Duval County to form Ocean County.

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.