most populous city in the State of Florida and
the thirteenth most populous city in the United
States, the City of Jacksonville had a population
of 782,623 in 2005; the metropolitan area has a
population of approximately 1,349,000. Since
1968, the city has shared a consolidated
government with Duval County, making it the
largest city in land area in the contiguous
United States (874.3 square miles).
The first European to see the area that is now
Jacksonville was French Huguenot explorer Jean
Ribault, who charted the St. Johns River in 1562.
The first European settlement was Fort Caroline,
established by the French in 1564. The fort was
destroyed in 1565 by troops from the Spanish
settlement of Saint
The first permanent European settlement was
founded as Cowford in 1791; it was so named due
to its location at a narrow point in the river
where cattle could be driven across. Isaiah D.
Hart, a Georgia plantation owner, moved to the
area in 1821. The next year, he mapped out a
town, which he named Jacksonville in
honor of Andrew
Jackson, the first Military Governor of the
Florida Territory and eventual seventh President
of the United States. The Florida Legislative
Council approved a charter for a town government
on February 9, 1832.
During the Civil
War, Jacksonville served as a key supply
point for hogs and cattle. The city was blockaded
by the Union and changed hands several times
during the war, but no battles were ever fought
in or near the city.
On May 2, 1901, downtown Jacksonville was
ravaged by a fire that started at a fiber
factory. One of the worst unnatural disasters in
Florida history, the fire destroyed the business
district and left some 10,000 people homeless.
Reconstruction began almost immediately after the
embers cooled, and more than 13,000 new buildings
had been erected by 1912.
the 1910's, New York-based moviemakers were
attracted to Jacksonville's warm climate, exotic
locations, excellent rail access, and cheap
labor. Over the course of the decade, more than
30 silent film studios were established, earning
Jacksonville the title "Winter Film Capital
of the World." The emergence of Hollywood,
California, as a major film production center
effectively ended Jacksonville's film industry.
On October 1, 1968, Duvall County voters
approved the merger of city and county
governments to create the Consolidated City of
Jacksonville uses the Mayor-Council form of
government. The mayor holds veto power over all
resolutions and ordinances made by the City
Council, and has the power to hire and fire city
department heads. Fourteen of the nineteen City
Council members are elected from single-member
districts; the other five are elected
"at-large." In the early 1990's, voters
approved a change in the city government which
divided the city up into five districts unrelated
to any other districts, solely for the purpose of
electing the at-large council members. Each
at-large council member is elected from
his/her respective at-large district by
the voters of the county as a whole.
The largest deepwater port in the South,
Jacksonville is a leading port in the United
States for automobile imports. It is also the
leading transportation and distribution hub in
the state. Other major industries include
distribution, financial services, biomedical
technology, consumer goods, information services,
and manufacturing. Major manufactures include
wood and paper products, chemicals, processed
food, and cigars. Tourism and U.S. Navy
operations (including Mayport Carrier Basin and
the Naval Air Training Center) are also important
to the city's economy.
According to Forbes magazine,
Jacksonville is ranked in the top ten U.S. cities
to relocate to for a job, beating out New
York and Atlanta.
The area is served by Jacksonville
International Airport, Craig Airport and Herlong
Airport, as well as an Amtrak terminal.
Along with the standard district schools,
Jacksonville is home to two International
Baccalaureate Diploma Programme High Schools --
Stanton College Preparatory School and Paxon
School for Advanced Studies.
Institutions of higher learning which call
Jacksonville home are: Jacksonville University,
the University of North Florida, Edward Waters
College, Florida Coastal School of Law, Trinity
Baptist College, Jones College, Florida Technical
College, Logos Christian College, Brewer
Christian College, and Florida Community College
Sites and Attractions
Fort Caroline National Memorial contains a
reproduction of the first European structure
built on the site of what is now Jacksonville.
Although Jacksonville's movie industry all but
ended after the establishment of Hollywood, the
city still hosts an annual Film Festival every
May. The festival features a variety of
independent films, documentaries and shorts, with
screenings held at different historic venues
throughout the city.
The Jacksonville Jazz Festival is held every
April and is the second-largest jazz festival in
Other major annual events include the Great
Atlantic Seafood and Music Festival (March), the
Blessing of the Fleet Parade of Boats and the
Jacksonville International Boat Show (April), the
World of Nations Celebration (May), and the
Jacksonville Light Parade (November).
Cultural attractions include: the Museum of
Science and History, which features three stories
of hands-on science and local history exhibits;
the Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art; and, the
Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, which holds a
large collection of European and American
paintings, as well as a world-renowned collection
of early Meissen porcelain. The Times-Union
Center for the Performing Arts is home to the
Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra.
The Jacksonville Zoological Gardens boast the
second largest animal collection in the state,
and is considered one of the premier zoos in the
Jacksonville is home to several professional
and semi-professional sports teams: Jaguars
(NFL), Barracudas (Southern Professional Hockey
League), Suns (baseball, Southern League),
Stallions (National Indoor Football League), Jam
(American Basketball Association), Dixie Blues
(Women's Football League), Northsiders (United
Soccer League), and Axemen (American National
Several motion pictures have been partially or
completely shot in Jacksonville since the film
industry left for California. The most notable of
them include Creature from the Black Lagoon
(1954), The New Adventures of Pippi
Longstocking (1988), Brenda Starr
(1989), G.I. Jane (1997), The
Devil's Advocate (1997), and The
Manchurian Candidate (2004).
A list of notable Jacksonville residents
includes: James Weldon Johnson, civil rights
activist and Harlem Renaissance author; John
Rosamond Johnson, musical composer; Merian C.
Cooper, writer and director of the 1933 film
classic King Kong; Pat Boone, singer;
Gary U.S. Bonds, singer and songwriter; Norman E.
Thagard, astronaut; Ray Mercer, professional
boxer; Lynyrd Skynyrd, rock band; .38 Special,
rock band; Limp Bizkit, rap band.
Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce
Jacksonville Convention and Visitors
Official Website of the City of
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