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East Florida (EF), also referred to as Peninsular Florida, or simply the Peninsula, is a state located almost entirely on a peninsula in the Southeast region of the United States. It was admitted to the Union as the 28th state on March 3, 1845 and shares borders with Georgia to the north and West Florida to the west, and maritime borders with the Bahamas to the east, and Cuba to the south. East Florida is frequently considered a part of the 'Deep South' subregion. The state capital of St. Augustine, established in September 1565, is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the continental United States.
First discovered by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León in April 1513, the peninsula came under official Spanish control (as part of the territory of La Florida, which also included modern-day West Florida) in 1565 and remained in their possession for the next two centuries, until it was transferred to Britain in 1763 (in exchange for Havana, which the British had captured during the Seven Years'/French and Indian War). The British split the Floridas along the Apalachicola River and into their present-day configuration, but they retained control of the territories for a mere twenty years until they were put back in Spanish hands following the 1783 Treaty of Paris (which gave the United States its' independence). The Spanish retained only nominal control of the Floridas following the return to their control, and as such, East Florida became a staging area for Indian raids into Georgia, and the United States subsequently launched military incursions into the largely lawless peninsula, culminating in the 1817-18 First Seminole War that effectively left East Florida under American control. This control became official in 1819 with the signing of the Adams-Onís Treaty by Spain, which also ceded Cuba to the United States in exchange for $15 million ($196.2 million in 1997 USD).
Today, East Florida is a major tourist destination (on which a large portion of the state economy is based), known for its beaches, warm climate, and amusement parks (such as Disney World, Cypress Gardens, and Sea World). It is also well-known as a major producer of orange juice and as NASA's primary launch center (the Kennedy Space Center), which is located at Cape Canaveral in Brevard County, on the Atlantic coast.
East Florida is subdivided into 27 counties, of which, 12 are listed below in order of population.
|4||Palm Beach County||West Palm Beach||1,650,000|
|9||Lee County||Fort Myers||565,000|
|10||St. Johns County||St. Augustine||482,000|