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Jacksonville is the largest city in the
U.S. state of Florida in terms of both population and land area, and the largest city by area in the contiguous
United States. It is the county seat of Duval County, with which the city government consolidated in 1968.
Consolidation gave Jacksonville its great size and placed most of its metropolitan population within the city
limits; with a population of 821,784, it is the most populous city proper in Florida and the Southeast, and the
eleventh most populous in the United States. Jacksonville is the principal city in the Greater Jacksonville
Metropolitan Area, with a population of 1,345,596 in 2010.
Jacksonville is in the First Coast region
of northeast Florida and is centered on the banks of the St. Johns River, about 25 miles south of the Georgia state
line and about 340 miles north of Miami. The Jacksonville Beaches communities are along the adjacent Atlantic
coast. The area was originally inhabited by the Timucua people, and in 1564 was the site of the French colony of
Fort Caroline, one of the earliest European settlements in what is now the continental United States. Under British
rule, settlement grew at the narrow point in the river where cattle crossed, known as Wacca Pilatka to the Seminole
and Cowford to the British. A platted town was established there in 1822, a year after the United States acquired
the colony of Florida from Spain; it was named after Andrew Jackson, the first military governor of the Florida
Territory and seventh President of the United States.
Harbor improvements since the late 19th
century have made Jacksonville a major military and civilian deep-water port. Its riverine location facilitates two
U.S. Navy bases and the Port of Jacksonville, Florida's third largest seaport. Significant factors in the local
economy include services such as banking, insurance, healthcare and logistics. As with much of Florida, tourism is
also important to the Jacksonville area, particularly tourism related to golf. In 2010, Jacksonville was listed as
a "High sufficiency" world city in the World Cities Study Group’s inventory. It ranks alongside cities such as Salt
Lake City and Las Vegas.