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about Jacksonville

Jacksonville is a city located in Duval County, Florida, USA. It is the county seat of Duval County .

As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 735,617. Geographically, it is the largest city in the contiguous 48 states of the United States in terms of land area. It is also the largest city in Florida in terms of population in the city proper. The Jacksonville metropolitan area has over a million residents, which was celebrated with massive parties on the Jacksonville Boardwalk in 1996.

The city limits are the same as the county limits of Duval County, with the exception of Baldwin and the three beach communties of Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach and Jacksonville Beach.

The area of Jacksonville is 874.3 square miles. Jacksonville was originally named Cowford because the St. Johns River is narrow here, allowing cattlemen to herd cows across the river. The city was renamed in 1822 for the first territorial governor of Florida and the future 7th U.S. President Andrew Jackson.

Jacksonville geography

Jacksonville is located at 30°19'10" North, 81°39'36" West (30.319406, -81.659999).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2,264.5 km² (874.3 mi²). 1,962.4 km² (757.7 mi²) of it is land and 302.1 km² (116.7 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 13.34% water.

Jacksonville history

Colonial and territorial history

In 1513, Spanish explorers landed in Florida and claimed their discovery for Spain. In 1562, the French Huguenot explorer Jean Ribault explored the St. Johns River area and in 1564 the French established Fort Caroline. Spanish troops, led by Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, from nearby St. Augustine attacked the fort and drove off the French in 1565. Spain ceded Florida to the British in 1763, who then gave control back to Spain in 1783. The first permanent settlement was founded at Cow Ford in 1791 and Florida became a United States territory in 1821. On June 15th, 1822 settlers sent a petition to the U.S. Secretary of State asking that Jacksonville be named a port of entry; this is the first recorded use of the name. The charter for a town government was approved by the Florida Legislative Council on February 9, 1832.

Civil War

During the Civil War, Jacksonville was a key supply point for hogs and cattle leaving Florida and aiding the Confederate cause. Throughout most of the war, the US Navy maintained a blockade around Florida's ports, including Jacksonville. In October 1862 Union forces captured a Confederate battery at St. Johns Bluff and occupied Jacksonville. Throughout the war, Jacksonville would change hands several times though never with a battle. On February 20, 1864 Union soldiers from Jacksonville marched inland and confronted the Confederate Army at the Battle of Olustee which resulted in a Confederate victory. By the end of the war in 1865, a Union commander commented that Jacksonville had become a "pathetically dilapidated, a mere skeleton of its former self, a victim of war."

Winter Resort Era

Following the Civil War, during Reconstruction and afterward, Jacksonville and nearby St. Augustine became popular winter resorts for the rich and famous of the Gilded Age. Visitors arrived by steamboat and (beginning in the 1880s) by railroad, and wintered at dozens of hotels and boarding houses. The area declined in importance as a resort destination when Henry Flagler extended the Florida East Coast Railroad to the south, arriving in Palm Beach in 1894 and in the Miami area in 1896. Not even hosting the Subtropical Exposition, a Florida-style world's fair attended by President Grover Cleveland in 1888, served to provide a lasting boost for tourism in Jacksonville.

Yellow Fever Epidemics

Jacksonville's prominence as a winter resort was dealt another blow by major yellow fever outbreaks in 1886 and 1888, during the latter of which nearly ten percent of the more than 4,000 victims, including the city's mayor, died. In the absence of scientific knowledge concerning the cause of yellow fever, nearly half of the city's panicked residents fled, despite the imposition of quarantines and the (ineffectual) fumigation of inbound and outbound mail. Not surprisingly, Jacksonville's reputation as a healthful tourist destination suffered.

Spanish American War

During the Spanish American War, gunrunners helping the Cuban rebels used Jacksonville as the center for smuggling illegal arms and supplies to Cuba. Duval county sheriff, and future state governor, Napoleon Bonaparte Broward was one of many gunrunners operating out of the city. Author Stephen Crane travelled to Jacksonville to cover the war.

Great Fire of 1901

On May 3, 1901 hot ash from a shantyhouse's chimney landed on the drying moss at Cleaveland's Fiber Factory. At half past noon most of the Cleaveland workers were at lunch, but by the time they returned the entire city block was engulfed in flames. The fire destroyed the business district and rendered 10,000 residents homeless in the course of eight hours. Florida Governor William S. Jennings declared a state of martial law in Jacksonville and dispatched several state militia units to Jacksonville. Reconstruction started immediately, and the city was returned to civil authority on May 17. Famed New York architect Henry Klutho helped rebuild the city. Klutho and other architects, enamored of the "Prairie Style" of architecture then being popularized by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in Chicago and other Midwestern cities, designed exuberant local buildings with a Florida flair. While many of Klutho's buildings were demolished by the 1980s, a number of his creations remain, including the St. James Building from 1911 (a former department store that is now Jacksonville's City Hall) and the Morocco Temple from 1910. Despite the losses of the last several decades, Jacksonville still has one of the largest collections of Prairie Style buildings (particularly residences) outside the Midwest.

Motion Picture Industry

In the early 1900s, Jacksonville was a center of the fledgling motion picture industry. The city's warm climate, excellent rail access, and low costs all helped to make Jacksonville the "Winter Film Capital of the World". By the early 1910s, Jacksonville hosted over 30 studios employing over 1000 actors. However, some residents objected to the hallmarks of the early movie industry, such as car chases in the streets, simulated bank robberies and fire alarms in public places, and even the occasional riot scene. In 1917, a conservative mayor was elected on the platform of taming the city's movie industry. Subsequently the film studios opted to move to a more hospitable political climate in California.

"Gateway to Florida"

The 1920s brought significant real estate development and speculation to the city during the great Florida land boom (and bust). Hordes of train passengers passed through Jacksonville on their way south to the new tourist destinations of South Florida, as most of the passenger trains arriving from the population centers of the North were routed through Jacksonville. Completion of the Dixie Highway (portions of which became U.S. Highway 1) in the 1920s began to draw significant automobile traffic as well. An important entry point to the state since the 1870s, Jacksonville now justifiably billed itself as the "Gateway to Florida."

US Navy

A significant part of Jacksonville's growth in the 20th century came from the presence of navy bases in the region. October 15, 1940, Naval Air Station Jacksonville ("NAS Jax") on the westside became the first navy installation in the city. This base was a major training center during World War II, with over 20,000 pilots and aircrewmen being trained there. After the war, the Navy's elite Blue Angels were established at NAS Jax. Today NAS Jax is the third largest navy installation in the country and employs over 23,000 civilian and active-duty personnel.

In June 1941, land in the westernmost side of Duval County was earmarked for a second naval air facility. This became NAS Cecil Field, which during the Cold War was designated a Master Jet Base, the only one in the South. RF-8 Crusaders out of Cecil Field detected missiles in Cuba, precipitating the Cuban Missile Crisis. In 1993 the Navy decided to close NAS Cecil Field and in 1999 this was completed. The land once occupied by this installation is now known as the "Cecil Commerce Center".

December 1942 saw the addition of a third naval installation to Jacksonville: Naval Station Mayport at the mouth of the St. Johns River. This port developed through World War II and today is the home port for many types of navy ships, most notably the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy. NS Mayport current employs about 14,000 personnel.

Jacksonville is also not far from Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in St. Marys, Georgia, which is home to part of the US Navy's nuclear-powered submarine fleet.

The naval base became a key training ground in the 1950s and 1960s and as such, the population of the city rose dramatically. More than half of the residents in Jacksonville had some tie to the naval base, whether it be a relative stationed there, or due to employment opportunities, by 1970. While the city is more independent from the Navy today, it is still a strong influence in the community.

Racial tension

Jacksonville has a history of racial segregation and violence. This came to a head on "Ax Handle Saturday", August 27, 1960. A group of white men (allegedly some were also members of the Ku Klux Klan) armed with baseball bats and ax handles attacked civil rights protesters conducting sit-ins at segregated restaurants. The violence spread, and the white mob started attacking all African-Americans in sight. The police did not make an attempt to stop the violence until the "blacks started holding their own."

Before the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, African-Americans in Jacksonville were denied healthcare services at every hospital except the all-black Brewster Hospital, even when their condition was critical or life-threatening.

In the aftermath of the Civil Rights Act and Ax Handle Saturday, the previously segregated African-American and European-American communities worked together in open dialog, integration, and participatory government.

Despite the progress, racial tension was very evident when the public schools in Jacksonville were integrated in 1967. The black students attending integrated schools endured racial epithets, being spit on and, in some extreme cases, being stoned by their white classmates.

On June 1, 2003, John Peyton became Mayor of Jacksonville after defeating the first African-American candidate for mayor, Nat Glover. Matt Carlucci, a white Republican endorsed Glover (a Democrat) after being defeated in the open primary. Afterwards, Carlucci's business was vandalized with the words "NIGGER LOVER", and Glover's campaign headquarters was vandalized with "NO NIGGER MAYOR". The only witness to the crime said he saw two black males running from the scene.

It should be noted that Nat Glover was the first (and only) African-American sheriff in the state of Florida, winning two elections before running for mayor.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Jacksonville, Florida".

This city is also known as: Jacksonville.

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