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State in the extreme SE United States. A long, low peninsula between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Florida is bordered by Georgia and Alabama.
Area, 58,560 sq mi (151,670 sq km).
Pop. (2000) 15,982,378, a 23.5% increase since the 1990 census.
Largest city, Jacksonville.
Nickname, Sunshine State.
Motto, In God We Trust.
State bird, mockingbird.
State flower, orange blossom. State tree, Sabal palmetto palm.
Tourism plays a primary role in the state's economy; in 1996 visitors to Florida spent over $48 billion. Walt Disney World, a massive cluster of theme parks near Orlando that is one of the world's leading tourist attractions; Universal Studios, a combination theme park and film and television production facility, also near Orlando; and other attractions draw millions yearly.
Famed beaches, such as those at Miami Beach , Daytona Beach , and Fort Lauderdale , attract hordes of vacationers. With more than 4,000 sq mi (10,360 sq km) of inland water and with the sea readily accessible from almost anywhere in the state, Florida is a fishing paradise. Other attractions include Everglades National Park, with its unusual plant and animal life; Palm Beach , with its palatial estates; and Sanibel Island's picturesque resorts.
Famous for its citrus fruits, Florida leads the nation in the production of oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, and market-ready corn and tomatoes. Other important crops include sugarcane and many varieties of winter vegetables. Cattle and dairy products are important, as is commercial fishing, with the catch including crabs, lobsters, and shrimp.
*Information from Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition