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Orlando History

May 8, 2008
Orlando, located in central Florida, is best known as the home of Disney World. Like much of the rest of Florida, Orlando is a popular tourist destination, except people come more for the theme parks than the beaches. Its famed theme parks include Sea World, Universal Studios and of course Disney World. With one of the nation's largest conference centers and numerous golf courses, Orlando is a popular host for business conferences and golf retreats.

Historically, Orlando was grounds for the Seminole Wars between the Americans and the Native American tribe Seminole. In 1838, the US army built Fort Gatlin outside the city to protect against attacks from Indians.

The fort that was built around the settlement was called For Gatlin, and the community that formed around that fort was called Jernigan, taken after the Jernigan family who built the first post office in the area, thereby establishing the first permanent inhabitants. At first, the settlers raised cattle as their primary living, but it wasn't until the Seminole Wars came to an end that business and livelihood began to really pick.

By this time, the community was called Orlando, in honor of Orlando Reeves, a soldier and plantation owner who died during the Seminole Wars. In 1875, the town was finally incorporated, at which point there were about 85 residents comprising the city. When Cuban demand for beef increased, cattle ranches grew across Florida's cities, including Orlando. After some time, cotton became a hot commodity and Orlando became a thriving city of cotton plantations.

The tropical and warm weather of Florida proved to be perfect for citrus crops as well, and as a result, Orlando greatly benefited from it. From there, Orlando continued its growth and when Walt Disney decided to erect his first Disney theme park outside of California in Orlando, the city never looked back since.
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