Jacksonville, Florida, the state's most populous city and the seat of Duval County. It is in the northeastern part of the state The St. Johns River flows through the city. Jacksonville's land area of about 775 square miles (2,010 km2) makes it one of the largest cities in the nation.
|Facts in brief about Jacksonville, Florida|
|Population: City--735,617. Metropolitan statistical area--1,122,750.|
|Area: City--834 mi2 (2,160 km2). Metropolitan statistical area--3,221 mi.2 (8,342 km2).|
|Climate: Average temperature--January, 53 °F (12 °C), July, 82 °F (28 °C). Average annual precipitation (rainfall, melted snow, and other forms of moisture)--52 in (132 cm).|
|Government: Mayor-council. Terms--4 years.|
|Founded: 1822. Incorporated as a town, 1832; as a city, 1859.|
Jacksonville is a commercial and manufacturing city and serves as a wholesale center for much of northern Florida and southern Georgia. Many insurance companies have home or regional offices here. A deep-water port, one of the busiest ports in the southeastern United States, serves the city. Products shipped from here include chemicals, lumber, and naval stores (turpentine and related products). Imports include coffee, petroleum, and automobiles. Manufacturing is diverse, producing mainly consumer goods and light industrial products. Tourism is important to the city's economy, as are commercial fishing, banking, and several U.S. Navy bases. The city is served by railways, two Interstate highways, a rapid-transit system, and several airports, including Jacksonville International Airport.
Downtown Jacksonville is situated along the north side of a bend in the St. Johns River. Located here are the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts, home of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra; Jacksonville Landing, a shopping and entertainment area; and City Hall. Directly across the river from downtown is Friendship Park. Nearby is the Museum of Science and History, which includes a planetarium.
Southwest of downtown are the stately homes of the Riverside and Avondale historic districts. Nearby is the Cummer Gallery of Art and Gardens, which has a fine collection of 18th-century German porcelain. East of downtown is Fort Caroline National Memorial, which includes a reconstruction of a 16th-century French fort. North of downtown is the Jacksonville zoo.
The Jacksonville Jazz Festival is held each October in Metropolitan Park. The Gator Bowl college football game, held in late December, is another popular annual event. Jacksonville University and the University of North Florida are the city's chief institutions of higher learning. The city is home to the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League.
The area was first inhabited by Timuqua Indians, who lived along its waterways. In 1564 the first Protestant colony in North America was established at the mouth of the St. Johns River by Huguenots (French Protestants); it was destroyed by the Spanish a year later. The site is now Fort Caroline National Memorial. Jacksonville was permanently settled in 1816 and laid out in 1822. Union troops occupied the city during the Civil War, leaving mostly ruins when they departed. In 1968 Jacksonville and Du-val County (except for four small communities) were consolidated into a single corporate body. In the 1980's and 1990's, the city experienced major population growth and economic expansion.