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Jacksonville is the most populous city proper in the U.S. state of Florida, and eleventh most populous in the United States. Originally called Wacca Pilatka by the Seminole and Cowford by the British, the city takes its present name from Andrew Jackson, the first military governor of the Florida Territory and seventh President of the United States.

In 1968, Jacksonville consolidated with Duval County, creating the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. Most of its metropolitan population is within the city limits; with an estimated population of 827,908. The entire metropolitan area had a population of 1,345,596 in 2010. Residents of Jacksonville are referred to as "Jacksonvillians" or "Jaxsons".

The city is in Northeast Florida, centered on the banks of the St. Johns River, about 25 miles (40 km) south of the Georgia state line and about 340 miles (547 km) north of Miami. It is a major military and civilian deep-water port, housing two U.S. Navy bases and the Port of Jacksonville, Florida's third largest seaport. Significant sectors of the local economy include services such as banking, insurance, healthcare, logistics, and tourism


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Map of the St. Johns River watershed
The St. Johns River is the longest river in the U.S. state of Florida and its most significant for commercial and recreational use. At 310 miles (500 km) long, it winds through or borders twelve counties, three of which are the state's largest. The drop in elevation from the headwaters to the mouth is less than 30 feet (9.1 m); like most Florida waterways, the St. Johns has a very slow flow rate at a third of a mile an hour (0.5 km/h), and is often described as "lazy".[1] It is one of a small number of rivers in the United States to run north. Numerous lakes are formed by the river or flow into it, but as a river its widest point is nearly 3 miles (4.8 km) across, The narrowest point is in the headwaters, an unnavigable marsh in Indian River County. In all, 3.5 million people live within the various watersheds that feed into the St. Johns River.[2]

With a drainage basin of 8,840 square miles (22,900 km2), the St. Johns is one of the major interior wetlands of Florida.[3][4] It is separated into three major basins and two associated watersheds for Lake George and the Ocklawaha River, all managed by the St. Johns River Water Management District.

A variety of people have lived on or near the St. Johns, including Archaic people, Timucua, Mocama, French and Spanish settlers, Seminoles, slaves and freemen, Florida crackers, land developers, tourists, and retirees. It has been the subject of William Bartram's journals, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' books, and Harriet Beecher Stowe's letters home.

Although Florida was the location of the first permanent European colony in what would become the United States, it was the last U.S. territory on the east coast to be developed, and it remained an undeveloped frontier into the 20th century. When attention was turned to the state, however, much of the land was rapidly overdeveloped in a national zeal for progress. The St. Johns, like many Florida rivers, was altered to make way for agricultural and residential centers. It suffered severe pollution and human interference that has diminished the natural order of life in and around the river.

The St. Johns was named one of 14 American Heritage Rivers in 1998 but was included on a list of America's Ten Most Endangered Rivers in 2008.[5] Restoration efforts are underway for the basins around the St. Johns as Florida continues to deal with population increases in the river's vicinity.


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Fort Caroline, de Bry.jpg
Photo credit: Theodor de Bry

Depiction of Fort Caroline, illustrated by Theodor de Bry.


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Malcolm X, 'The Ballot or the Bullet' (1964)

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John Willis Menard (April 3, 1838 – October 8, 1893) was on November 3, 1868 the first African American elected to the United States House of Representatives. In a special election to fill the unexpired term of James Mann, a Democrat who had died in office, Menard, a Republican, was elected to represent Louisiana's 2nd congressional district. He was denied the seat on the basis of an election challenge by the apparent loser, Caleb S. Hunt. On February 27, 1869, Menard did become the first African American to address the chamber.

When the House Committee on Elections could not make a final determination on the election challenge, the case went before the entire House of Representatives who, on February 27, 1869 suspended its rules to allow both Menard and Hunt to address the chamber. Only Menard spoke. After debating the issue, neither Menard nor Hunt could gain enough support to be seated. The vote for Hunt was 41 in favor to 137 against. For Menard, it was 57 in favor and 130 against. Congressman and future president James A. Garfield, is reputed to have said that “'it was too early' for an African American to be admitted to Congress.

Menard moved to Jacksonville, Florida, where he was appointed to the Florida House of Representatives in 1874 and lost the next election. That same year and again in 1877, he was elected as a Duval County justice of the peace.


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Jacksonville items from Wikinews
  • April 14: Zimmerman stands before judge for the Trayvon Martin shooting
  • November 25: Wikinews interviews Darcy Richardson, Democratic Party presidential challenger to Barack Obama
  • September 20: Leonard Skinner, namesake of rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd, dies at age 77
  • April 14: Physicist John Wheeler dies at age 96
  • January 13: New England Patriots go 17-0
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  1. ^ Whitney, p. 215.
  2. ^ Belleville, p. xxi.
  3. ^ The St. Johns River: Nominated as an American Heritage River, Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved on July 17, 2009.
  4. ^ Whitney, p. 136.
  5. ^ Ball, David (April 14, 2008).St. Johns River Makes ‘Endangered’ List, Jacksonville Financial and Daily Record, Retrieved on July 17, 2009.
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